Saturday, September 29, 2012

Are You Crazy?

It doesn't bother me when people ask about our having a large family, but I've never quite known how to gracefully answer the question, "Are you Crazy?"  Mostly because I like being a bit flippant and saying, "A bit, yes."  It throws them off. 

But there is a real answer to that question because I understand what they are really asking.  They see the dollars, the size, the weight, the laundry, the homework, the schedule, the everything.  I don't blame them.  Absent the actual experience, I'd be scared too.  I learned about 4 children ago not to think about the loads or the work or to call it difficult, not because it wasn't the reality, but because calling it thus poisoned my spiritual well and made doing the labors involved in serving these people much harder.  So I tell myself, this is simply what is required.  It is baseline.  And whenever it gets to be too much, I know it is time to focus on individuals, rather than groups.  When I do this, I resee my own children as the ages they are, the stages they are, the individuals they are and I get stories. 

For example:

Two days ago I took my youngest son shoe shopping.  We were in desperate need of new tennies.  I'd been rather bland about it, picking out some solid blue with Velcro straps.  My 4 year old walked over to the display and pointed at the Spider Man and Iron Man sneakers.  The eyes of Spiderman light up.  You can guess what we wound up buying. 

Yesterday my third grader son proved that we made the right call in enrolling him in Cub Scouts. He wore his uniform for school picture.

This morning I brought donuts to my children since they would have to have a morning babysitting as my middle son had baseball and my husband was at work.  I'd thought that I ordered every one's favorite, including two plain glazed for the youngest two to eat.  When my 20 month old saw the other non plain options, she spiked her boring donut on the floor and reached out very definitively to select her own, a frosted vanilla pastry with sprinkles. 

My teen got asked to homecoming in the following fashion.  A boy ran up to her in the lobby of her high school.  "Do you want to go to homecoming with me? I'm a freshman. I'm 15."  She said yes.  He said "Great, see you there!" and left. She does not know his name. 

My kindergartner went to a birthday party today. She knew it started at 2:30. So at 1, she started staring at the clock.  "Change clock! When are you going to change? It changed Mommy! It now says 1:04.  Is it time now to go?"  This went on minute by minute until she was distracted by the need to wrap the present. 

I love these sorts of little stories that bubble up in the process of living.  I also love that they are all as unique and singular as the individuals in them.  Part of why we have all these stories is we have all these characters and the interplay and weaving of their thoughts and talents and interests and even their flaws make for the ebb, flow, drama and grace of raising a family.

They may be work. They may need a lot (and they do), but they also create a lot of memories. The labor is a service and all service is love. So the next time someone asks me, "Are you crazy trying to raise that many?" when they hear I have ten kids, I'm going to say, "I'd be crazy not to."  Then' I'll add, "but a touch a crazy helps too."


Maria said...

You may, in fact, be crazy... but the response could be, "Yes. but that's independent of the children." Hugs!

RAnn said...

Love it

Rose Godfrey said...

I always agree that yes, I am crazy. And, as Maria noted, it is independent of my current situation.

I think that being vastly outnumbered is somehow easier than dealing with just one or two. And it is easier to have older kids in the house who can help with the littles.

And in the end, it is so worth it all.

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