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The world vs. big families

September 10, 2015

I know I haven’t posted a lot lately, but today there’s a fire lit under me. Today, I’m simply frustrated with all the little ways our world is not the same as it was in years past, even just a few years ago.  

On Thursdays Katie’s bucket is filled for the entire week. We happily drive 40 minutes so she can take a 2 hour science lab class. Some families drive hours, literally. It means a lot to her and it fills a huge need in our curriculum. However, of course it comes with sacrifices as all five kids accompany us for those hours. Realistically, it means I have the four youngest during nap time while trying to entertain them without losing all our minds or breaking the bank. It’s not all bad, but it does get tricky as the three littles don’t have long attention spans for anything. 

Today, I walked Katie in to class because despite the fact she is an old soul and no stranger to these classes, she’s not allowed to walk from the front of the building to the sidewalk still within sight of the classroom. Here’s gripe #1; no exceptions to policy. It’s a liability issue. Students must be 13 to check themselves in and out. Ugh. State of the world number 1 million.

The kids are overjoyed that today we are spending the first hour at a nearby McDonald’s play place. That means a snack, new friends, and lots of running and climbing. With a baby in my arms and two toddlers in tow, no employee offers to carry our tray. It’s ok; I’m super woman. State of the world number one million one. In addition, when I asked TWICE if they could refill the wipes dispenser, the responsibility kept being passed to different employees ultimately remaining unfilled. State of the world number one million two. Oh well. Germs are good, right? Thank you, however, for having a dedicated bathroom in the play place room. VERY, VERY helpful!!

From there, proud of myself for getting some grocery shopping done outside of our own neck of the woods, the last hour is spent at Sam’s stocking up for the week…well partially, as it didn’t really allow for many cold-item purchases. We walk in, there’s a bottle neck at the carts, everyone pushing ahead, and when I finally get to a cart of our own, there’s no room to put my three kids into it for the people trying to enter the store around me. Again, no wipes in the dispenser at the door to give a quick wipe down of the carts. What’s my number count now? …at least two more.

I’m barely in the doors, and a sales person with DirectTV seems to think I’m his target audience. I smiled, interrupted him before he had said anything other than “Hello ma’am, can I….” with my own response of “Sir. Seriously. Three young whiney children in the cart is probably not the person you want to stop. Thank you though.” He was shocked to say the least. I shook it off as an adult male who didn’t understand the dynamic of young children. However, really, it’s probably more an indication of the “it’s all about me” mentality and his quotas to sell that day. State of the world one million five.

Thankfully, we finished our shopping with only the 8-year-old saying he had to go potty (when we were in the back of the store none-the-less). Sorry, buddy. You have to wait! No lines at check out. Sweet! My three of four children graciously helped unload the cart onto the checkout belt only to get to the register and be told that the checker would have to load my groceries into a separate cart, and I needed to move the children’s cart out of the way. What? “I’m sorry ma’am. What?”

After trying to explain herself several times, I was still clearly in shock at this new-to-me policy and trying to interrupt what she surely must have meant but wasn’t actually conveying. Oh no. She really did mean what she was saying. She was required to put all my things into a new cart, and then if I didn’t want to take two carts out to the parking lot (because three children were occupying the one we had been using) I was welcome to transfer my children to the new cart that was now filled with groceries (and clearly unable to be filled with children). What on earth? Seriously? She was adamant that I could step aside and solve this myself after having paid for our things. Um no. Sorry. Sometimes this momma just doesn’t want to conform to idiocracy…real or perceived.

“Michael, please take the groceries from her cart, and transfer them back to our cart so that we can leave the store.” Of course, she thought that was ridiculous.

“But ma’am I will have already put them into the new cart.”

“Yes. Why you are doing that, I don’t quite understand as I don’t see the need to transfer the children, which clearly are the harder of the entities.”

“Ma’am what would you like me to do with your things?”

Hhhhm. I think that’s pretty obvious, right?! “I’d like you to allow my 8-year-old to place them into our cart. Thank you.”

Clearly we are mutually annoyed with one another. She is frustrated by the reality that his loading our cart is slower than her scanning the items themselves and no doubt that I trumped her ability to follow policy. I’m annoyed at the lunacy of this whole thing and it’s impact on me and my young children who thankfully at the moment are happy.

So…contemplating this scene, I’m wondering why on earth this is policy. Although she didn’t say, I can only assume that it has something to do with liability or preventing stealing of items underneath the children. I don’t know. Seems to me that there is surely a better way to deal with either scenario. Regardless, point number 1 million and six on my every-growing list.

Why did this all bother me so much today? I don’t know. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in my “predictable” home territory or that I am a bit more tired after being up last night with a baby cutting teeth. Maybe it is because in my subconscious I’m still mulling over this notion that Europe will soon be Islam because they aren’t meeting their own replacement rates. We aren’t too far behind in that regard though. It makes me so sad that our family of seven is LARGE when several decades ago, we would have been considered small.

Normally, I’m happy to live in my own little crazy world of young homeschooling children and like-minded families, but today, I was so struck by the “state of the world” and it’s impact upon us.

What do I want? Ultimately, I want my family to be admired in a way that inspires others to grow their own family. I want us to support one another on this journey of raising the next generation of our country. I want, even if it is just a little, more selflessness in how we interact with one another. I would love for kindness to be the norm and that be enough…not concerns with liability at every turn. What an idea that we would be so invested in helping one another and building a society of love that liability wouldn’t be an issue. I want the babies conceived to find homes and not meet the instruments of abortionists. I want scared mothers to believe that there is a family at every turn willing to help her and her baby too. I want to walk this country’s land knowing that I’m not trekking along alone; forging my own path. Instead, to know the certainty that there are those before me already welcoming us at the bend ahead.

So…today I choose to rejoice in my own little domestic unit that is trying to work together, trying to sacrifice for one another, trying to live in charity and generosity. I will remain committed to raising independent children capable of intelligent thought, problem solving abilities, and the desire to do good with great fortitude and strong character. I will say my prayers, holding even tighter to the rosary beads at night, praying grace upon all of us that we will embrace the changes that come with more grace in our hearts.

Today, I pray for other big families that God would place us in each other’s paths to help one another and be the instrument of change, if nothing else, by sheer numbers.

For those reading this, not in my own state-of-life and maybe not able to relate in the same way, please look around and see how you can promote a spirit of life. Big families aren’t a curse, really!! God bless our world!

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