When I am out and about, by myself or chaperoned, and the kids are with me, I get a number of, how should I say?, reactions. They range from friendly smiles and comments about the children’s beauty (those folks are going straight to heaven) to wide-eyed stares, sometimes annoyed frowns and even some snipey remarks. The latter people? They irk me.
For one, I was taught by my mother that it’s not polite to stare and two, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all. Golden rule and all that.
Then there’s the fact that, while they make me want to pull my hair out, my children, so I’m told, are generally well behaved and cheerful. Spreaders of joy is what they are. So when people go all Judgey McJudgerson, I get a little cranked.
Especially when the comments are thinly veiled with sideways compliments or, my personal favorite, observations.
The best and most often heard?
“Boy! Someone’s got their hands full!”
I always smile and laugh. “Sure do!” I chirp. What I’d rather do is let my kids bound into the street while I stare blankly back at Captain Obvious and say, “Who? Me?”
But here’s the thing. Yes, I get annoyed. Yes, I feel like the cranky old ladies who shake their heads or glare at me and my troops are judging me and my family planning. Yet I continue to smile and be cheerful because I want them to know these children are my CHOICE. That I love them and their craziness with a fierce and abiding love. That my “large,” homeschooling family brings me and those they meet intense joy. That my kids are smarter than their kids – yes even that.
But most of all, I smile because those snipey folks remind me that I do indeed have my hands full; full of strong growing boys, wiggly little ones and delicious baby love. When I hold my children in my arms and feel the weight of their bodies, I know of my Maker’s blessings, my husbands tangible love for me and my legacy when I am long gone. In them I feel love and life and I would rather have that overflowing, running through my fingers than the alternative.
Yes, thanks be to God, I have my hands full.