Bill and I have four kids. It's not a lot, to us, but sometimes relatives or friends we haven't seen in a long time chuckle, "Wow, you've been busy!" We generally smile and say, "Uh huh!" because, well, we have been...as we should be, right? Even passersby will raise their eyebrows in surprise when we march our little troop along sidewalks or store aisles. I've been tempted to say, loud enough to hear, "Now, let's find your parents, sweetie!" Bill has 5 siblings so he understands a bit of the "big family" stigma. I, on the other hand, have 14 siblings so I understand more of the "BIG FAMILY" stigma. The funny thing is that, as a little girl in school, I wondered what was wrong with these folks who couldn't manage to have more than two, three, or four kids. Poor diet? Disability?
Anyway, there are a few families in our church who have four or more kids, even young families. It's kind of nice being in company with people who understand what sheltering, feeding, clothing, and managing a little brood is all about. It takes a lot of patience and prayer. Bill told me that the first thing he expects from me when he comes home from work is that the kids are still alive. So far, I've been consistent, though there are days...like today, when I discovered that our normally well behaved little girl embellished her dresser with a dark furniture stain marker. A friend said recently, "That's why God made them cute." She was obviously just cute enough, and it helped that I could remove all traces of her artwork (it was very nicely done art, by the way) with nail polish remover and cotton balls.
It's hard to get a handle on everything, too. Like potty training our 3 year old who still hasn't managed to tell us before and not after he has to go potty. Who cares if he's still wearing diapers at 5 if I'm going to homeschool him anyway?!
So, it's nice when I get a little pat on the back from church friends who are taking the same journey with me through cracker crumbs in the sofa and doorway jungle gyms. It's like having a big family to come alongside us and nod their heads in genuine understanding. Of course, because they really do know what it's like to peel playdough off their best jeans and grapple with a squashed tube of lipstick before heading out on a rare date. Just make sure to tell me if there's a banana sticker on my backside before I leave, okay?