Brendan and I were visiting with a family in India. It is exciting travelling along a road in India. You have a variety of vehicles and animals all trying to avoid each other.
On the back of a lorry we saw the caption “One plus one equals one”. It is an advertisement to promote population control in their country. With Brendan and me, one plus one equalled fourteen.
We were telling our hosts about our journey and laughing about the caption on the lorry. This family had four children. We were sharing about our fourteen children. The mother called Josey, told us about family traditions in India.
When a mother gives birth she is cared for by extended family and servants. Josey visited with her daughter when she gave birth for six weeks. The new mother was not allowed out of bed to do any work. Her energy was preserved to feed her baby and recover from the delivery.
In those six weeks Josey pampered her daughter, bathing her in essential oils and herbs. She cooked special energy giving meals. The Chinese give nursing mothers ginger soup, which helps the mother’s body recover. When the baby was fed by mum, Josey would care for baby till the next feed.
I commented ” I am due twenty one months of essential oil treatments!”
Josey went on to tell me that in most families every baby is given a servant to help the mother look after him. What a great help for any mother. Who wouldn’t mind having lots of children if there was all that help available. The husband didn’t seem to be involved in the child care in India.
My husband helped me rear our children. As more children were born the older children helped the younger children. When I returned from hospital with a new baby my children gathered around me and baby. They wanted to nurse their new sister or brother. Each baby was prayed for and welcomed into our family. There was room made for each one in our hearts and our home.
An angel was assigned by God for each baby. “See to it you don’t despise one of these little ones who behold the face of my Father in heaven.”
We may not have had servants to help but God assigned an angel to help. Imagine a heavenly messenger arriving in our home with each new child. We treated each child as a gift sent down from the Throne of God in heaven. Each one was special and had a particular destiny in this world which I believed God would help them accomplish. Each child was blessed. Who would not want a gift from God? The policies of the nations are preventing people receiving gifts from God.
My oldest daughter was studying for her A levels. Beside her desk in her bedroom was a baby’s cot. She studied while her baby brother David slept.
Mary looked after two brothers in her bedroom, while she studied at night. She was strict with them and would not take any messing.
The young children loved to go to Hannah’s room. It was the warmest room in the house. Hannah allowed the boys to climb into her bed, if they awoke early. They could keep warm under the covers. On a Saturday morning they would spent hours playing games there.
Our youngest daughter used to go up to her sister Ruth’ s room. She would tug at Ruth to get up and change her nappy. If Ruth didn’t respond, her wee sister, whom she loved, would climb up and sit on Ruth’s pillow. She eventually got her big sister’s attention.
Everyone loved to lie in on Saturday mornings, when there was no school or work.
It wasn’t easy for my husband. He laid down his life for his family. He did not have interests that took him away from the family. If we did have recreation we did it together, a walk on the beach or forest, a drive along the coast, going for a swim or working in the garden.
I don’t think it was a tradition in India, Ireland or China for the husband to help rear the children. That task was left to the women. My husband is one of a kind. He has modelled a different tradition for his sons.
I often reminded myself of the Psalm 121 when I got weary.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)
God gave us our children and he is committed to help us look after them.