Sunday, March 10, 2013

Us, a Large Family? Really???

And I'm not being sarcastic by that title. I mean, really, we only have four. We still fit comfortably in our MINI van. We usually have enough spaces on forms to fill in all of our children's names without having to write in the margins. I haven't forgotten their birth dates and I don't always call them by the wrong name. And, what's more important, when we are out we can all still fit into a handicap bathroom stall WITH our double stroller. All in all I'd say we're still small...or maybe mid-sized.

But apparently we don't look like an average American family, even though we feel (at least a little bit) like one. I know this from the comments and stares we get when we're out. Now, since moving to the South, I can only think of 2 or maybe 3 encounters where the comments have been rude or judgmental. And I'm beginning to choose not to be bothered by them. Why should it matter what someone else thinks of our family size? Of course I don't understand why other people (and by that I mean "perfect strangers") should have an opinion on how large or small our family should be...but that's beside the point. I am practicing giving a sincere and cheerful response to any comments I receive, whether negative or positive. And I'm choosing in advance to not be offended by comments that are less than pleasant.

So, why the ramble about our family size? Well, yesterday I had a very funny experience. The kids and I went to Target. I know...that's hilarious, isn't it? While we were there, the kids were generally very well-behaved. We walked the aisles, they held on to their places on the cart beautifully, Abby rode quietly and cheerfully in the cart, and Jeremiah took his morning nap in the carrier. A pleasant outing all in all.

So, what's the funny part? As we were walking the aisles I heard a little boy shout to his mother, "Wow! That's A LOT of kids!!!" And then his mother nearly matched his volume and enthusiasm as she said, "Yes, and look! There's even a baby there!" I guess three kids is A LOT and a baby makes the whole thing a spectacle worth pointing out to everyone in the greater Houston area.

I got a good laugh out of it...although I did try to wait and laugh when we were no longer in earshot of our observers. Truly, from the mouth of babes...

As Claude likes to say, "We're not even in double digits...yet." I'm glad to be practicing smiling and laughing now, otherwise I could be in for all kinds of unnecessary pain inflicted by generally well-intentioned (if not extremely opinionated) passersby.

Below is a picture of our gigantic brood. What do you think - average-sized or large family? I'm still voting for average. Maybe in a few more years (when that 15 passenger van is required to meet our transportation needs) we can graduate to large family status.


  1. Average or large, you guys are wonderful and we are glad to have you here.


  2. Ditto what Nathan said. I must add though, I don't think of you guys as large. I think that American society has lost something over the last few generations, homes are getting larger and families are getting smaller. Don't feel bad, I've had a few comments, and we only have two- as far as strangers can tell (if they don't notice the third in my belly). I've gotten "Boy, you sure have your hands full"- really- two?!? Or, the other day a lady said "Well, bless your heart, you sure will be busy", when I mentioned a third was on the way. Really- Three?!? I don't know, when I was a kid it seemed most of my friends came from families of three or more, perhaps because I grew up in Texas. I do think that Texans are more used to "larger" families, I hope you feel at home here and pray that others will rejoice in your blessings the way we do. Love you guys. -Cathy

  3. I've only had a couple semi-negative comments since we moved. Most people are really nice and seem genuinely intrigued by a small herd of little ones. I just laugh sometimes and think, "I wonder what they would say if The Lord gave us a few more?" :) I grew up in a family with three kids and that did seem pretty average. Maybe it's the closeness in ages that surprises people? In any case they are right to say, "you've got your hands full." ...of blessings!

  4. Amen! I usually follow it up with "and I wouldn't have it any other way!" :-)