It had been a fun, field tripping sort of day in the Upper Peninsula. Because lunch was beef jerky and cheese sticks with apples, everyone was on the grouchy side of hungry by five o’clock. There were no fast food restaurants, and most of the diners were closed for the season. We were forty minutes from our cabin where there was abundant food, uncooked, of course. So we kept searching.
Finally the GPS directed us to Jack’s Eats. Now Gabe and I make fun of any food establishment with the word “eat” in the name, but this would have to do. The parking lot was completely full. As we were piling out of our vehicle, an elderly lady watched us with frank astonishment. “Are these?.. All?.. Yours?” she asked, dumbfounded. I looked around and assumed she must be talking to me, since there was nobody else in the vicinity. (What do you mean? There are only five!) I didn’t say it, but my children snickered. “Five isn’t even many!” they said to each other, wondering at the silly lady’s perception.
We entered the diner, a seat-yourself place, and started threading our way to the back dining room in quest of a table. The talking din became noticeably quieter as the entire crowded roomful craned to watch us. There was, in fact, not a single table available. I resisted the urge to quack loudly as we threaded our way back out past all those full tables. Five miles further down the road we found an even greasier diner with a bit of space. So the hunger crisis was averted, and all was well.
I like this story because of my children’s amusement and the total lack of embarrassment they showed in being such an enigma. Sometimes I shrivel a bit under the disapproving vibe: the sheer audacity of having more children than is considered normal… must be some kind of freaks without many smarts. “Wow! It must take a lot of food at your house! How do you ever reach around to them all? You raising a bunch of kids to do all the work?” I think the comments are slight admiration with occasional undertones of sarcasm about the huge carbon footprint we are leaving. I also think they are a little unmannerly, don’t you?
Recently I met a lovely Indian lady at a park and we chatted about our children, our cultures, our values, etc. She told me how incredibly difficult it was for her to come to America to study with her husband. They found themselves without people, so far away from all the connections that were completely vital to living in their culture in India. When they had a baby, her mother-in-law came for 4 months to help with the baby. The grandfather of the child got to choose her name as a mark of honor. “It is sad that America does not value family and children,” she concluded.
I couldn’t agree more. In our society, it is more important to get a thirty year mortgage on a McMansion than to fill it with people. Garages are packed with ATV’s, boats, snowmobiles, you name it, but we can’t afford to have children. There are endless jokes about how inconvenient/expensive/disruptive the kids are. I am just getting up on my soap box to tell you that I am sick and tired of it!
It isn’t so much the number of children we have as the attitude we display. This sad old world needs to see us happily visiting with our little guys while we walk into the grocery store. It needs to see us smile into their faces, listen to their stories, laugh with them at the ducks gobbling the bread at the park. It needs to see us bending down to their level to explain why they may not run across the parking lot. It even needs to see a kindly firm “No” when our children beg for candy. Our society needs to see that we Christians will not subscribe to the hip and modern notion that pouring out our lives for the sake of the next generation is much too sacrificial and time consuming.
I think something in me has been growing up and getting bolder about the fact that we are living counter-culture. When the lady in the pottery shop told me, “I only had two and boy, was it tough!” I simply said, “I decided when I became a mother that I was going to make it my career.” Maybe she thought it was rude, but like I said, I am fed up with feeling slightly apologetic about my values.
Recently there was media buzz about a woman who chose to stay home with her family, describing her as a person “who never worked a day in her life”. Wow.
So… here we are, living on one income, stacked into our little house, wearing our second hand clothes, sporting our home-style haircuts, working hard to grow a lot of our food, (go ahead and measure our carbon footprint), trying to stay out of debt, having a string of children, spending our very lives to teach them well. So what if it is hard. You got a problem with that?
I am calling all Christian parents to rally together and show the twisted world we live in that we really do believe our children are our greatest investment.
7 thoughts on “A Different Sort of Weird”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
No more words.
VERY well said!! 🙂 Its interesting how the attitude actually switches…when you have 5-6 its the attitude you talked about…but when you have 9…well, then they almost get awe filled tone of voice and attitude, and they shake their heads and bless you!! At least this has been our experience…but we still at almost 50 years get asked ‘Are you going to have more”!! LOL!! Do you really think I’m Sarah!! Maybe!!
Very well said! I join the rally! I like my kids more than anything in the world!!!!
Definitely one of your best, Dorcas! I’m with you and especially I agree with the need to speak and live and portray kingdom TRUTH to this twisted culture we live in. Next time, go ahead and quack. Or smile your biggest and brightest and make them wonder what you’ve got! 😀
A.MEN. I love enjoying my kids in public, and saying ‘no’ to candy. 🙂 Their response is priceless and something any mom could be delighted for anyone to see. Kids are happy with ‘no’. Happier, in fact… than if it was always ‘yes’. It brings a teary, lump in the throat kind of joy to delight in my kids anywhere!
Thanks for sharing these inspiring words.
Beautifully written! I LOVE you and your ducklings… you guys make wonderful stories! 🙂 Blessings as you keep being an inspiration!