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Stalked by the Stork...a diary of raising twelve kids

Having twelve children is an amazing blessing and one heck of a crazy ride. Join us through all the joys, smiles, tribulations and trials as we navigate this fabulous journey!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Humbled

Sometimes, when we go out as a family, I feel like the entire excursion becomes an exercise in fending off others. Dealing with our fair share of stares, the whispers, the glad-its-you-and-not-me type comments, listening to and answering the same ole questions with the same ole responses. Yes, all ten of them are ours. Nope, we haven't been blessed by adoption, they are all our biological children. Yes, we are BOTH the biological parents of ALL of them. Yes, we started young..Yes, our hands are full. Yes, we do have a set of twins. It's these two right here, as we gesture towards Isaiah and Alexandria. No, we didn't use IVF, we just got lucky. No, we aren't sure if there will be any more. Yes, we might. No, I don't think we're crazy..well, maybe a little bit. Yes, its expensive and yes Christmas costs a lot. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point, especially if you have lots of kids and go through a similar routine when you are out with your family.

Here's the thing though. I have been guilty of harboring resentment towards others sometimes, because of this. I've come to resent the looks, the questions, particularly the ones I find invasive and often inappropriate, the ones that I fear may make my kids feel like a freak-show. And often, I resent them because, well, honestly..it's a pain in my butt. I just want to move through Target, same as anyone else, without loosing a child, and having to stop and talk about the same thing over and over. It wears on my nerves. I'm sorry, but I'm human.

But tonight, I was taught a lesson.
Tonight, we went to Target and then stopped for pizza. As we were configuring the seating arrangements, which often take up a sizable amount of time and involves what must appear to be a game of musical chairs, without the music, the waitress came over and began asking me questions about our family. I was a tiny bit annoyed. Well, not really annoyed...it's just that I was trying to get babies into highchairs, preschoolers into booster seats and pair up little kids who needed to potty with big kids who could take them, all while collecting any silverware, red pepper and Parmesan cheese containers and napkin dispensers from the tables so that these items didn't later become toys or weapons. And Mia was crying. Incessantly.
The waitress asked the same ole things. Were they all ours? Did we have twins? Which ones? How long have we been married? What's the age spread between the oldest and youngest? Who's the oldest? I politely answered each question, as I ALWAYS do ( I Do NOT subscribe to the notion of dealing with these questions, even the personal ones, by becoming rude or hurtful myself). But inside, I was secretly wishing she would move on. And then she told me.

She said that she had been trying to have a baby for five years. That she'd been unsuccessful except for one time, when she did get pregnant and that her pregnancy had been ectopic. She told me how the struggle to become parents had destroyed her marriage and that she and her husband had divorced largely because of it. She said that she was dating someone else now, and hoped that she'd be able to marry and one day still become a mom. Then she smiled and told me how beautiful our children were and how amazing she thought it was to have so many blessings, and asked what we would like to drink. And I felt like an ass. A complete and total jerk.

How many times have I done this before? How many other times have I been annoyed, wished someone would "move on" or tried to avoid eye contact so I didn't have to stop and answer questions? How many times have I judged people's motives without truly knowing what was in their heart? It was a total OMG moment for me, as I realized how I've taken my amazing good fortune for granted and become incredibly self-centered. All this time, I've only thought of my own inconvenience, my own need-to-get-going-now, being oh so sure that these folks were only being nosy and invasive anyways. But maybe they weren't. At least not all of them. What if some of them were feeling pain, as this woman so obviously was tonight? How insensitive I've been! And I'm embarrassed now to think of my own sense of self-importance...who the heck do I think I am that I'm too busy to stop for a few seconds and answer a few questions? So what if they do sometimes get a bit too personal in nature? By and large, they come from people who mean well and truly just want to chat for a moment, have their curiosities answered and often express some well wishes. Well wishes for my children, for my family. Sounds like something to be appreciated and treasured rather than avoided. Yes, there are those who are disapproving and not all that nice, but honestly, those folks usually aren't the ones who stop us...

So, now I sit here humbled, and a little bit ashamed of myself and my self centered behavior. And the next time someone walks up to us and begins the inquiry, I think I'll react with a bit more love and appreciation that someone (who is probably also very busy and needs-to-get-going) thought enough to take a few moments out of their life to express well wishes towards my family. And tonight, I am praying for that woman at the pizza joint. I pray that God will bless her with a husband and babies, and I'm asking that you all join me in that prayer request. And I am reflecting again on my blessings and good fortune and on just how lucky I really am.

11 comments:

Niema said...

:-) I love this, Angela. So very true indeed. We are very blessed.

Anonymous said...

Had that happen a lot and we only had 6 and they asked if my two oldest were twins...they weren't...they were 2 YEARS apart! Well, 22 months.
Know that I continue to pray! Adding prayers for your waitress, too.
Psalms 62:1-2 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.
Prayer Bears
My email address

Jennifer Lopez said...

This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for your honesty about how you feel and for sharing in the urge to pray for that lovely lady. I will pray for both of you. For a husband and children for her and for the patience to come to you when it may not be there but is needed.

I have secretly done the same though. I found your site and kept on reading to learn about you and your family. I have grown to love each of you as if you are my cousins far away. I hope to see your posts when I get online to see how the family is doing and how you are holding up. I read it so that way I know if there is something specific for me to pray about, such as this post has lead me to do.

I am just trying to show you what you just realized...we aren't all nay-sayers and that sometimes we truly are coming from a place of love. I LOVE LOVE LOVE big families because there is just so much darn love going around....as well as fights but they are filled with love also. I ask questions sometimes to bigger families because deep down I want to be a part of it or find out how to create my own.

What I am trying to say is this: Angela, you and your family are a picture of love. It's a beautiful picture indeed and people want to to know more about the things that they find attractive. Hence all the questions.

I hope you can come to see the questions as blessings. You just continue to shine upon us and don't let the ugly people out there blow out your flame.

Mackey said...

Thanks Angela!!! I REALLY needed this as I trudge through this holiday season with a bulging belly full of #8 dealing with the same type tcomment/experiences. Can I PLEASE have you permission to repost this on my own blog?????Pretty please with loads of sweet tea on top????? Have a blessed holiday season lady!

Angela & Albert Fontenot said...

Mackey,
Of course you may! I would actually be so honored! I don't think I've ever writen anything someone wanted to repost before! Go right ahead!
angela

Kendra said...

What a great reflection!!! I felt resentment when I got pregnant from 2 of my friends who have a difficult time concieving as well. One is my coworker and her and her husband started to do the adoption thing, it fell through, and now they've divorced. I get annoyed sometimes when she wants to play with my daughter a lot and asks tons of questions too...but then I remember the struggle she's been through...

We are blessed!

Chasity said...

I loved reading your post! So glad you shared the link to it on blogfrog! Blessings to you and your family!

debi9kids said...

OMGOSH Ang! I never before thought of it in this light. I have always done (and thought) the same way you described... I am polite but secretly wishing people would just moe on so I could.
Eye opener...indeed.

Tee said...

I found your blog through mckmama's blog and wanted to check it out. This is a beautiful post and I really look forward to reading more about your life with your family!

Nana said...

Beautiful post, Ang. Let people stop and talk with you and know that most of them walked away with a smile. Pretty soon your blessings will be grown and no one will stop you anymore. Then you'll turn into me - I can't wait for someone to ask about my grandkids - all 16 of them.
Now Ang...don't you think it's time for you to come and see me - we can do lunch!!

Love you,
Mom

Cindy said...

You know I have come to enjoy it. Its the shock and awe factor that I decided to embrace and enjoy.

I only have 6 (that sounds funny) but we get gawked at too. I have to say, being that I am a loss Mom, I look at every child as a blessing.

Oh, and do you ever get the "religion question"? Mormon or Catholic? LOL

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