I love a good “Say this/Not that” post. Like what to say to a grieving mom. Or what to say to an adopting parent. Or what to say to a stay-at-home or working mom. Not because I think the people that need the advice actually read them or are actually clued in, but because there is a sense of camaraderie with those that write them. You can nod and say “Yep! I’ve heard that. And I wish they’d try saying something else, too.”
So, here’s my shot at it. Moms of large families. UNITE.
Here’s what Mom/Aunts of many children want you to know (YOU, YES YOU!)
My Dearest Jaw Dropper,
I say dearest because you really have no idea how dear you are to me, bless your heart. The chuckles I get at your expense fill my tank, I’ll admit. And that’s a necessary key to sanity. I need to be reminded of how hilarious we are when we wander into the grocery store, a restaurant, down a hiking trail or onto a playground. And I must laugh. So I won’t cry. You help me with that. SO thank you!
When I see you completely lose control of the cart you are pushing, drop your keys mid-stride, let all your food fall off your fork, or allow your ONE child to completely wander away…all while dropping your jaw to stare at my herd passing by…I can’t help but think about the narrative that must be playing in your head. It’s provided hours of entertainment for me, I assure you. To thank you, I’d like to take a minute to give you all the answers you really need. This should help you avoid the embarrassment of the questions you might ask. just in case the cat lets go of your tongue before I can hasten by.
Yes, they are all mine. And by mine I mean, I did not pick them up in the parking lot or gather them from strangers throughout this establishment. I came in with all of them and I need to complete my task and leave with all of them. It really shouldn’t matter to you, dear stranger, if that’s by birth, adoption, babysitting, friend-watching or play-dating. I’m responsible for seven in this moment and if I spend time explaining any further than that will not help me leave with seven.
Yes, I do have my hands full. So full of blessings to overflowing. And since you are such the sleuth, I’m sure you can deduce that since my hands are so full and I’m STILL trying to shop/eat/hike/play/supervise, it might not be a great idea for me to take my eyes off the task to stop and visit. Thanks for helping!
Yes, there are seven. You are very quick at your math. Math is usually my strong suite, too, but I’ve counted to seven so many times today, I’m plum tuckered out. Since you’ve only had to do it once so far, would you mind following me through the rest of this errand and continuing the game? If you ever come up shorter than seven. PLEASE NOTIFY ME IMMEDIATELY. You have no idea how much that will help!
Yes, they are very close in age. And, yes, I’m sure that none of them are twins, absolutely sure. I was there for many of the births, up close and personal. One at a time. I do wish I had time to explain to you just how sure I am or explain how wrong you are that it’s even possible that they all “look exactly alike”, but I do not. Thank you for understanding!
Yes, I know I’m brave. Very very brave. But bravery has a limit. And I’m only 11.5 minutes away from bravery becoming straight up crazy, with 13 minutes of shopping left to complete. I really do hate to bravery over you, but if this
chariot shopping cart doesn’t keep the forward march, I’m NOT GOING TO MAKE IT. Please understand, the battle is at hand. They are very close to victory. AND I need to win. Desperately, I need to leave with my last ounce of bravery.
Yes, I know you can barely do it with your two. I sincerely do wish I had time to encourage you. I’d love to grab you up with a cup of Starbucks and lean straight across the table and say YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. Parenting 1 or 7 is tough tough stuff. I really do hope you have someone you actually know if for real life that will take time to do that for you. It reminds me that I need to do it for some very loved new-momma’s too. But right now we are not at Starbucks. And I think that was your Johnnie that just opened the box of un-paid-for popsicles. What a good kid, he even passed some out to his new friends, my thankful and hungry crew. See! You are totally rocking this. Thanks for sharing. Gotta run!
So, in short. The answer is YES! to all of your many jaw-dropping questions. I hope you’ll allow me to leave it at that. For, they are young, but I’ll assure you- they are not dumb. They can sense distraction. And if I spend another ounce of my focus engaging your need for a biology lesson, math tutorial or etiquette check, they will use it to their complete advantage. Let me assure you, none of us want that.
And God bless you, too.
Continue on, sweet jaw dropper, continue on. And next time I see you, since we’ve completed the formalities, if you happen to ask if I need any help or maybe give a thumbs up and compliment my children (FOR HEAVENS SAKE, make something up), I can assure you I will smile and say “Thank you, friend! That made my day.”
Sincerely, from the very deepest parts of my heart,
Your neighborhood Momma/Aunt of Seven