Evidently, my family is fascinating.
Not only do people feel compelled to ask questions like "Are they all yours?" and "Are you trying for a girl?" but they don't feel at all ashamed to stare...they don't even try to hide it. I have cute kids but COME ON!
Friday evening we took a road trip to OH to visit my father-in-law. We stopped at a fast food restaurant for dinner. (No lectures about the lack of nutritional value, please.) The Husband and I have a system..he finds out what I want to eat then I take the 2 yo and find a place to sit. After the other boys order, they join me and the 15 yo gathers the napkins, straws and ketchup. YES! I confess, we've done this a few times before!
For some reason, at this busy place on the side of the highway, we were like a freak show. (No this is not paranoia...it was like we'd wandered into a tiny town and were clearly "from away".) One woman walked around the perimeter of the restaurant, coffee in hand, staring at us the whole time. Finally the 15 yo said, not too quietly, "Why is she staring?"
Thankfully, right about that time, *E* was generous and gave people something to see. Somehow he managed to knock his whole soda (don't say it, I know all about HFCS) backward onto the seat behind him and it quickly ran like a river in both directions, toward the Husband and myself. Fortunately, our reflexes are still good (we are old, after all) and our behinds stayed dry..as did *E*'s. There is no use crying, or yelling, over spilled soda. The Husband went and got the napkins while the children stood in the way gawking at the soda river. *N* tried to soak up the deluge with the corner of one napkin while *C* effectively blocked the Husband from recovery efforts. After asking them to sit down several times, he discovered they were mesmerized and he had to take them (gently, of course) by the shoulders and lead them to their seats so he could actually reach the spill. I told you, we're like the Griswolds. He said it was like watching the Keystone cops. (I told him he was showing his age. ;) ) And through it all, "Coffee Lady" circled and gawked.
Hopefully, we handled the "crisis" acceptably. Hopefully, we set a positive example for both our children and those around us. (Because there were times this weekend when we looked like we could have been on one of those reality shows about a family in crisis...but those are blips on the radar screen..loud blips but so uncommon as to be totally shocking to us and the perpetrators. Amazing what stress, sleep deprivation and hunger can do to rational people. We're going to work on that.)
Sometimes life goes smoothly. Sometimes we fly under the radar. Sometimes we get compliments about how well-behaved our kids are. (Yes, it really does happen.) Sometimes people stare. Sometimes I want to crawl into a hole out of embarrassment. Always, ALWAYS I am a child of God entrusted with the care of His children. This blessing will not always be easy and I will often fall short but regardless, my life is a gift and each child is a sign of hope and an opportunity to be an example of God's love...to them and to others. Hopefully, each of them will go on to do the same.