The other day, the girls and I went to one of our favorite walking parks.

As I wrestled the stroller out of the car and pleaded with my toddler to stay with me while I loaded the baby into it, I noticed a very small, very old woman sitting at a nearby bench, watching us.

As the seven of us walked past her, I smiled and waved.

I was taken aback (not really) when she looked at me with disgust and asked, “Are these children all yours?”

I knew early on I would have to prepare a good answer to that question, not because I care what others think, but because I knew my daughters would listen to my answer.  I knew it would define much of how they felt, being a part of our large family.

So, I smiled and said what I always say: “Yes!  Aren’t I lucky?”

That usually disarms people.  But she looked at me all the more disgusted.  “You think so?”

“I know it.”

“Why would you choose to have so many children?  Think of what you could have done with your life.”

The girls watched me with big eyes during the entire conversation as it went on.  They are growing more and more aware that people look at them and see not a blessing, but a hindrance to their mother.

I can see them listening more and more intently to how I respond to those comments and judgements on my motherhood and my choices.  Because they hear them literally everywhere we go.

Every night I kiss them and I pray that they will feel my love.  I pray that they will overlook my mistakes during the day and that they will ignore all that they hear people say to their mother.  I pray that they will know that they are my greatest gift, my deepest desire in life.

I pray that they will listen instead to what I say in response, that they will soak it in: that their momma is so lucky to have them.

People see me as a woman without a brain.  They see me as a woman who gave up everything in exchange for dirty diapers and the mundane.   They see my tired face and my pbj-stained t-shirt and think that I must be crazy or uneducated, or maybe both.

Can they not see that these six girls are my life?  That there is no greater joy than giving your heart to another?  That through all of the pain and agony of each and every childbirth that I chose to endure, there is more light, intelligence and life than they can begin to imagine?

What greater joy could I have?  I don’t see my life as one that gave up anything or that is missing out.  I see it only as one that has been blessed.

I’m not just lucky.

I am the luckiest.


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