Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

The Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898

What a wonderful day to go tell Michelle congratulations! It may not be nine months from today, but she has the same exciting news to celebrate and could use a few angelic encouragements.

She opened up her comments to allow expressions of happiness because unfortunately they have already gotten some of the other kind. I related a story to one of her commenters who was happy to have some "one liners" ready to combat the inevitable rudeness from friends, family, even total strangers that is to be expected when you have a larger family. It has to do with what society expects and considers acceptable.

People aren't just having their 2.5 perfect kids anymore. Families of 3 are seen more and more; 4 is not entirely unheard of. Whether or not society at large deems that acceptable depends on other factors it seems.

The story I related happened when I was expecting Shortcake. We were walking at a local outlet mall and I was VERY pregnant. I don't remember why we were there...probably trying to induce labor since all of my children insist on being "fashionably late". I thought that meant ten minutes, they think it means ten days! Dear Husband was pushing the oldest two in a side-by-side stroller so that their cuteness factor was doubled. Awwww... are they twins? No, just 16 months apart! He was strolling along, I was lagging behind. The smiles and grins were just him. He was having the time of his life showing off his beautiful kids to people who obviously appreciated their adorableness.

He looked back at me to tell me that he loved how "child friendly" this place was and remarked that we should come here more often. I think I was on the verge of tears, which could have been chalked up to being very pregnant, but wasn't this time.

I saw what he didn't... what he couldn't simply because my pregnant belly was behind this "perfect family" on display and apparently was a thing of disgust to all the satisfied passersby. The faces that were smiling and jovial to him fell when they saw me. The connection between Husband and I was undeniable even though we were not side by side. They were appalled and believe me, it showed! I watched as they smiled at my lovely children being pushed by their strong, handsome Daddy and then saw their faces change into ugly expressions of revulsion as they realized "we weren't done, yet".

How could we be so thoughtless? Here we had the PERFECT family. One boy, one girl... a football player AND a cheerleader. The balance was perfect! They could have understood if we had two boys. Of course, we had to try for a little princess...or... two pretty girls would have meant that Daddy needed a little man and that would have been more than acceptable. But why upset the scales? They couldn't get their heads around it. It must be selfishness they concluded or a complete lack of self control. Perhaps at best, they thought it was an .1% mistake and at worse... we were complete idiots who didn't know how to read instructions.

This memory was on my mind this morning especially because... I hope it will happen again! We are in the same situation now... 2 boys, 2 girls. We expect a #5 someday, if it be God's will... (no, this isn't an announcement, but thanks for wondering!).

These people who criticize and judge won't understand. They won't understand how lonely life was in my "perfect family" and how I want better for my kids. They won't understand how each of these precious babes teaches me something about life, love, ... my Lord that I didn't know before but desperately need to. How they pull me out of my innate selfishness, how they confront me with a mirror of my own faults and failings but sometimes also... my strengths. We pray there will be a number 5 here with us, instead of waiting for us, and when that happens, I won't know what to say.

We have a thing for odd numbers? : )


  1. I have heard all manner of comments and seen all manner of expressions. I try to smile and not dwell on the negativity. Praise God we are surrounded by friends (and some family) that welcome each child with almost as much joy as we do.

  2. Matilda said: no, this isn't an announcement, but thanks for wondering!

    Margaret replies: we are always wondering, aren't we? And hoping...and praying...

    Happy Feast of the Annunciation, dear Matilda. I'm off to congratulate Michelle.

    PS. I'd love to read about your visit to Dachau sometime, as per your comment on my post today.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!