Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Large Family Annoyances

While out to eat recently with my five kiddos, a friend's child and a really pregnant belly, 
a woman came up to me out of the blue and had the gall to say,
"You look almost completely overwhelmed!"
And the first thought that came to my mind was,
"Wow, I've never heard that one before!"
And then my second thought was,
"I have an extra child with me which is a little challenging but hey, I'm still in control here!"
This woman gave herself permission to say "completely overwhelmed" 
by putting "almost" in front of it.  
First, I laughed and then complete annoyance came over me.
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27
Lord, why do I still care what strangers think of me?
And for heaven's sake why do people give themselves permission to say whatever they want to say to larger families?
When did larger families become dumping grounds for people to project their own issues on to us?
What if I walked up to every small family and inquired about their family planning?
"Are you done yet?"
Sometimes I think my response to such people should be...
"These sweet babes bring patience and tolerance to help me put up with people like you!"
(My OBGYN and I came up with this one!)
The reason I am writing about this is it doesn't happen once in a blue moon but almost any time we venture out together.
But by God's grace, I didn't turn around to see the woman's face so I couldn't confront her.
I had a good idea as to who she was as she kept turning around to stare at us while sitting with her husband and her one self sufficient child.
I started to think to myself...
"My, you look almost completely underwhelmed with your one child!
"Do you feel better about yourself for saying that to me?"
"How do you know what I can handle?"
And "Who are you?"
Eventually, I work through all the thoughts that come into my head, I start to settle down and think of Oprah's words of wisdom...
"When you know better, you do better."
Easy to apply to myself but harder to apply to others.
As my husband often says to me, 
"Who cares what other people think?" 
And, I think really, can you teach me not to care?
And he reminds me again and again
that we are the ones who are truly blessed.