My Family

My Family

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Perspective on 6

Perspective changes things. My 1 year old is standing on his head, as well as he can, little legs planted firmly on the ground, with his face peeking through the upside down "V" his legs make. He thinks it is hilarious (and I actually think it is really cute)! I've tried the same thing, but find it's a little harder for me in my less limber, almost 35 year old body. However, my perspective can be changed, not by standing on my head, but by altering the way I'm thinking about things.
As I was changing the baby's diaper right now, I was actually thinking about the number 6. Realistically speaking, the number 6 isn't always viewed as a "large" number. In fact, in my mind, anything under 10, in general, is seen as not too many. Think about a handful of chocolate kisses, 6 is not quite generally want a couple more than that. If there were just 6 dishes sitting on my counter, I would feel that there weren't very many dishes at all, and probably put them off until there were more there. It's not uncommon to check out 6 books at a time, and hey, if you have less than 10 items, you can go through that quick check-out lane that most stores have! So why is it that when you speak of children, that 6, in most people's minds, is an out of control, unimaginable, do you have any clue what birth control is, number? It's not as if my children are hungry, naked, or out of control. However, I know that the fact that we have SIX kids is a bit intimidating to others. How can we possibly take care of *THAT MANY* kids emotionally? Are they getting all the attention they deserve? Well, of course my answer is skewed from my perspective, but I feel that the answer is an unequivocal YES! They might not know who The Simpsons are, but they have 2 families with friends here in town they are especially close to, and while our home has its share of sibling squabbles, if it really comes down to it, they are pretty tight as siblings go. They might not be able to name the most recent radio hit, but they can sing along to Phantom of the Opera if the occasion calls for it (or even if it doesn't)! They can tell you what they did the last time they spent time alone with mom or dad, and are excited about our upcoming family vacation. Overall, I think they are pretty happy kids. So why does it bother me so much when other people pass judgement on me or my family, simply because of the numbers involved? Mainly because I think they lack perspective.
I had an "A-ha" moment a few years ago, when I wasn't quite as comfortable with our *HUGE* family. I had gone into the post office to do businees with my *4* children. Someone commented (rather rudely) that *sigh*"You really have your hands full!" (*poor, poor thing* dripping from the comment). I didn't know what to say, and so, with my arms full, and my kids trailing behind, I manuveured my way around this well-meaning, let's point out the obivous, person, and huffed to my car, spent 5 minutes getting all the kids buckled up, and drove home, muttering and frustrated the whole way. After 3 trips to the car (2 for kids and 1 for packages and mail), I finally got settled inside and realized, "You know what? My hands ARE full. *DUH* BUT, (and here was the perspective change!) I CHOSE for them to be full. I wanted this, a home full of joy (and chaos), especially after realizing that I might not ever get to have a child physically! So, it became my quest to convey that I was not *put upon* by my husband and children, rather, that I was happy within the realm of my world. Since the comment I heard most often was the "You've got your hands full!", I decided I would craft a quick response to that. After dwelling on it for most of the afternoon, I struck gold! I would simply say, "My heart's full, too!" That was it! I could convey, in one quick breath, that *by golly* I meant to have *4* kids, and I was pretty happpy with the way things were.
I don't know that it has ever really mattered to anyone who has felt inclined to comment on the size of my family, or the fact that my hands REALLY are full, that I say (sometimes quite flippantly) "My heart's full, too!" but you know what? It changed my PERSPECTIVE!! And that, my friends, has made all the difference!


gin said...

i soooo know what you mean about the comments...i came from a home of only 2 and my brother. Now that i'm a mom to 3.5 kids (the oldest lives with us part of the time) when i have all of them, people are like, "how do you handle it"...and i think to the adage that God gives us what we can handle. He didn't give THEM all these kids because they couldn't have handled it...He blessed me with them because we can not just handle them, but LOVE them all.

We're adoptive parents of all 4 and couldn't be happier.

Amy said...

Beautiful post. Thank you. I'm one of nine children and am so grateful my mom's heart was full enough to have every one of us! We didn't have fancy clothes or get to do every single extra-curricular thing there, but we had a whole lot of love for eachother. I can't count the number of times people would say, "I wish I was in your family."

I heard a great quote once, "If you live how they won't, you can live how they can't."

All the best to your and your children.

Sketchy said...

That's exactly what I say to that comment! I just smile and add, "but my heart is so full too!" and generally they end up smiling too.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled upon your blog but I just had to say I love this! I only have 3 kids (so far... we are hoping to adopt soon and I could have as many as the Lord wanted me to have). I even get this statement and what I have finally started to say: " I'd rather have them full than empty" I like your response as well. It simply makes them speechless usually or a quick ya sure that is a good way to think of it! LOL