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.


12 Responses

  1. Jessie

    Love that Eden Girls picture! You are so lucky! If only we realized every second how lucky we are to be moms? Perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

  2. You are more lovely and tactful than I would have been :) lol Therefor, even MORE blessed!! :) You have such a sweet family!! :) They are lucky to have a mom like you!! :)

    April 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

  3. Liesel

    I promise I am only partly stalking you. I just happened to go to update my Blog when I saw your post. What a rude woman. Maybe she worked and feels she needs to defend her choice by berating you. Or perhaps she is just a cantankerous old battleaxe.

    I feel you, it’s not for the same reasons, but I get comments nearly every time I go out too. Well, actually even with only 3 children I get some comments about my “hands being full.” Not sure when 3 kids became a large family.

    You are smart to pay attention because of the messages it sends your girls. Just like I am wary about all the comments because of the messages it will send them about deafness. If I have one more person pity my girls I might slap them.

    There is nothing better you could do with your live than to give all this love. Love is never wasted.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

  4. Sarah Burgoyne

    I will never understand why anyone thinks they have the right to make comments like that. I know I have more then one family member that think I “could have been something” or that I “had potential.” Isn’t it wonderful having an eternal perspective and a supportive husband :)

    April 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

  5. Liz

    You are so wonderful Ann! I’m not sure what I would say, but that is the perfect comment. I probably wouldn’t say anything, and that’s not what I should do. It hurts when people say things like that. You HAVE done PLENTY with your life!!! Women in Congo and YOUR CHILDREN as well as countless others, (even me) can attest to that! LOVE YOU!!!

    April 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  6. Here here Ann! Well said, and well written :) I love what you said:

    …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?

    You’re lucky, but I’m the luckiest ;) Love you!

    April 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

  7. Krista

    Beautiful. And what a crucial thought – knowing that your kiddos are hearing everything. That puts a whole new spin on the significance of speaking kindly to and about them. And childbirth is the ultimate, “not as the world giveth” moment. *HUGS* from us to you and your precious blessings, too! :)

    April 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

  8. heather

    and this is why I need our friendship, you are wise yet harmless. I would have said ” at least I won’t die a lonely grumpy old lady”

    April 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    • Ann

      Ha ha, Heather! I love you! :)

      April 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

  9. Debbie Domenici

    Your girls have been blessed with a wonderful mother who loves them and their father very much! You are such a wonderful example to everyone who comes in contact with you.

    How I wish that we had many children to share our love with. I can only hope that I can teach Mackenzie to share this much love with everyone!

    I wish we lived closer so that she could learn from your example too!

    April 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm

  10. I’m always so shocked at what people say to you in CO. I get comments here in PA but they are not quite as blunt. SO first off, way to show the world otherwise. Second of all, it is the role of motherhood that has been trodden over so many times and yet, it defines our communities, our society, and our culture. without mothers and their children, society would cease to exist.

    you go girl!

    April 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

  11. Kaui

    When we lived in CO, some of our neighbors was surprised that we got married first before having children. I guess its the old-fashion way :)
    Its unfortunate people can be so negative about something that’s so special and its really a blessed gift. All that matter is our children know how special and how much they were wanted. You do such a wonderful job doing that already.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

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