My grandmother is the youngest of 5 siblings born between 1910 and 1922. The brothers and sisters have all lived in the same small city for most of their lives and have been best friends for 60+ years. Genealogy has been a hobby of many an ancestor so we were all steeped in family lore and family charts dating back to the first family member to step foot in Virginia around 1632. Every Christmas season for 35 years the clan has hosted traditions such as decorating graves at the cemetery, taking bags of gifts to each other's homes in a sort of moving open house party and culminating with a party at noon on Christmas Day. I have group family photos of every Christmas since I was 8 and it is amusing to see various hair and fashion styles as well as remember great aunties and uncles who have passed away.
This is a very educated bunch, every person over the age of 20 has a college degree so they can all count and use logic. Each of the 5 "greatest generation" siblings had 2 or 3 children and about 1/2 of the baby boomers had children, none more than 2. So far there are 13 children in the 4th generation and 6 of them are mine. One of the reasons I wanted a large family of my own was due to a desire to emulate my grandmother's close familial bonds. So it seemed that this was the last place I would hear grief about my family size.
Yesterday, at the annual party, while Tim was holding a sleeping baby and resting his eyes he overheard some unidentified boomer say, "It is selfish to have more than 2 children." That statement has filled me with hurt in a way that no stranger's rude comment could. After all, if their grandparents had limited their offspring to 2 more than half the people at the gathering yesterday would not exist (including myself) or not be included. It is very likely that the deceased in the graveyard would not have their annual gift of beer or cookie, and the other traditions that gave given us all such a sense of continuity and pride would not exist.
I also find that logic seems to escape this person's thought. If Tim and were selfish we would have limited our family size and been able to have free time and more toys. I don't "lunch" with the ladies, I teach my children at home. Tim doesn't have a sailboat like he used to, instead he spends his time teaching Will his math and taking the boys to Scouts. Our disposable cash is spent on piano and dance lessons, not the latest electronic gizmo. I'm sure the last time either of us slept past 7 am was over 10 years ago. So, I would not describe anyone who has 3 or more children as focusing on their own comfort. I might be selfish for wanting a Christmas filled with a plethora of family members, all grateful for each other but I wouldn't consider it a sin worthy of public chastizement.