Monday, April 25, 2011

Yes, They Are All Mine

My kids are close in age.  Very close in age.  And people seem to notice this when we are out and about frequenting our favorite stores.  I am used to the looks and smiles (people just can't help but smile at my adorable kids.  Not bragging, just stating a fact.)  What I fail to understand is the people who decide it is their place to comment.  Often the conversations with perfect strangers go something like this:

Stranger: Are they all yours?
Me:  Yes, they are all mine. (I want to respond, "No, I took one from the aisle over there.")
Stranger: Wow, you have your hands full. (eyes wide in amazement)
Me: Yes, we are rather busy.
Stranger: Oh my goodness, I guess so. -OR- How old are they? (3 1/2, 2, and 8 months).  -OR- Are they twins?  -OR- How do you do it? -OR- (my personal favorite) You are crazy.

And yes, I have had a perfect stranger in a store tell me I am crazy.  For having kids.  Three adorable sweet children.  (And they were actually being very well behaved when she said that!)

Why does having three children make me crazy?  What about me taking my kids shopping in a store invites people to think they can tell me that the precious blessings God has given me are a burden?  Don't get me wrong, we have challenging days.  Hard days.  Days I beg for God to grant me patience and wisdom so I can discipline and mold my three children into servants for Him.  Teach them His ways.  But, really, a stranger telling me I'm crazy, I was speechless.   Do they not know that children are a gift from God?  That I am blessed to call them mine?  What happened to "if you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all?"  Do they realize I do only have 3 kids, right?  That isn't a lot.  Especially in this day in age where the Dugger family is showing all of the world that 19 kids can be a blessing not a burden!

Then, a stranger made my day.  A couple weeks ago we were strolling through Hobby Lobby.  I love that store and so do my craft loving kids.  I had Se strapped to me in the carrier and Mo and L in the double stroller.  It was a great set up.  I lost count of how many people stopped us and commented.  I am not sure how many times I had versions of the conversation above.  By the time we were at the check out I was so ready to leave, simply because I didn't want to hear it any more.  (Isn't that sad?  I felt like I was defending my children through the whole store!)  The nice cashier was ringing up my purchases when a middle aged lady walked past us.  I could tell she was sizing us up.  As she pasted, her mouth opened and I braced myself for another onslaught of criticism.  Instead this is what she said, "You have the most beautiful babies.  Oh, my.  There isn't an ugly one in the bunch.  How sweet."  I thanked her and said I would have to agree.  I have gorgeous children!  She erased all my tension and I left the store feeling like someone saw my littles for the blessings they are.  

And yet another reminded me of a strangers ability to be kind.  Two days ago we were in Target.  It was not one of my children's finer moments.  Let's just say one child bit the toe of another (almost drawing blood) and I was in the middle of disciplining.  Yes, it IS how you are imagining it.  Lots of crying and weeping.  An elderly lady walked by.  I was distracted with the situation but my dad was there and had a conversation with her that went something like this:

Lady: Oh, are they twins?
Dad: No, just siblings.
Lady: They are both yours?
Dad explained he was the Papa, Nana had the baby and I was the mom.
Lady: Oh, you have three?  You are so blessed.  I don't have any.  I sure do hope I get to see you again before I leave the store.  They are just so adorable.  He must be tired.  (Referring to the biter who was crying, unaware of the discipline issue going on.)

What a sweet lady!  It brought tears to my eyes when my dad relayed the entire conversation to me.  I could not imagine not having any children.  I wanted to adopt her as a Grandma and let her love on my kids all she wanted, but I didn't get to talk to her again and I didn't know what the conversation was till we were headed to the car.  But she was right, I am so blessed.  I have three beautiful children.  They have been entrusted to me and I am proud to be called "Momma."  In fact, it is one of my favorite things to be called.

Thank you Lord for two perfect strangers who remind me that not all shoppers are cruel and nosy.  Some are sent from you to lift me up and remind me lessons I have already learned.


  1. Girl- we go through the same thing w/ the Twins. I do NOT understand why people don't just keep their negative looks and comments to themselves. It is amazing how the Lord sends people our way to encourage us and give us the strength to keep on keeping on. I <3 that a perfect stranger can bring such joy and encouragement! Keep it up girl!

  2. Someone once said to me (may have even been you), that it's interesting that the Bible calls children a blessing and debt a curse, but every day in this country people abort their blessings and beg for more curses. What a messed up society we live in when people think having kids is burdensome. My only hope is that the people who feel that way don't actually have kids. It's one thing when people spew that crap at you where you can defend your kids. What's worse is when you hear a mom belittling her children to other adults in public. You can see the life exit the child's eyes when it happens and it is the saddest thing ever. My life would be utterly incomplete without my kids, and I know you guys are the same. Be encouraged, you're the best mom we know and you have the most sweet and adorable children we know (aside from our own, of course) :)

  3. I am so sorry those people didn't have anything nice to say. and I am so glad (teary eyed actually!) of the sweetness of strangers! I needed to be reminded that there are still decent people out there. Thank you!
    and Thank You for blessing us with these stories of your absolutely adorable children!
    When we were pregnant (with our ONLY)... people made comments all the time about our lives being over. I commented many times how sad that made me... and I always tried to spin it back... "We are so blessed"... "we are so grateful that God has allowed us to be parents"... and sometimes to the really rude I would even say... "well, you know it took us a while to get pregnant, and we were even told that we had less than a 1% chance of conceiving. I am so glad that God does not use statistics and I am sure that this job will be hard, but I am SO BLESSED to be pregnant."
    Keep up the great work! You are an awesome Momma!

  4. Aunt Cheryl-Thank you for always encouraging me with your sweet comments!
    Char- I can't imagine what the conversation is like when you do indeed have twins! Double blessing! We are headed your way in July and I hope to get to see them again.
    Brent- It wasn't me who said that, but how true! I had never thought of it that way before (with the debt.) Wish you guys lived closer so our adorable children could play together more!
    Laura-You are so blessed! God is so good, and the gracious answers we give as moms I believe have an impact on the people we come in contact with. Praise God for your story, that He gets all the glory for your cutie little girl!

  5. You do an amazing job with your three kids. Even with my two who are four years apart I get comments about how my hands are full all the time. I can only imagine with three who are all closer than mine! Of course, I struggle to hold it together with two so I simply can't fathom how you manage. I wish I had half the patience and tolerance with my kids that you do! You're an awesome mom and Moriah, Levi, and Selah are all very blessed! :)

  6. Couldn't have said it better! I get lots and lots and LOTS of comments. Yes, I have my hands full. Yes, I'm busy. Yes, there are times when I FEEL crazy.

    But my kids are great. And I wouldn't trade the responsibility of growing them for anything. Even the quiet if a neat house :)

    Your babes are lucky to have a mom who relishes them as blessings, not burdens. thanks for the reminder :)

  7. Thank you so much for the reminder of how blessed we are by our children.

    I get a kick out of telling people I have 5 kids, in fact I often do it just to see what people will say. I love when I get good comments but they are few and far between.

    You are an awesome mom and your kids are blessed to have you. And they are absolutely adorable!!!