When my kids were young - way back in the days of the blur, as in my entire life was a blur of feeding and changing diapers and scheduling naps and so on - when we went places as a family
it was a spectacle.
We all arrived in one large extended 15 passenger white van - think airport van. And everyone piled out, one after another. And the people, man, they would STARE and they would COUNT and they would whisper and talk and ask us if they were all ours and if we knew how we had so many kids
which, by the way, is the single most demeaning question anyone could ask a parent of a larger than typical family, in my mind. As if you are too dumb to know how those kids got there, too slow to know how to avoid it - and the thought that people actually, consciously, could have CHOSEN to have a big family -
well, that's just not done, doncha know.
My big kids used to get SO EMBARRASSED, anytime we went anywhere. And the thought that their MOM had to go to Open House at high school carrying a 6 month old baby - well, that was mortifying beyond belief.
We no longer have the van. We no longer go places together, even though everyone (still) lives at home. (I think I will be the first to move out. Seriously.) We go places in groups, singly and in pairs, and arrive at multiple times. We leave on different schedules and aren't often all at the same place at the same time.
We went to my 18 year old daughter's graduation yesterday - she graduated from THREE schools with a 3.9 GPA, earned $26K in scholarships and garnered early acceptance into the nursing program at the college she will attend in the fall - and it was
a non event, family wise.
Wait - I don't mean a non event, I mean a non staring event. Does that make sense?
No one counted, no one stared, no one even noticed. It might have been because there were large extended families there as a norm. It might have been because we arrived at different times, and it might have just been because no one cares.
And that's the interesting thing to me - when you have family of 8 teens and adults, it's somehow not as alarming as a family with 6 under 11. Why is that?
I no longer go to the store with people trailing behind me. I go clothes shopping with no one else in the dressing room. I can take myself to lunch and sit at the bar if I want and I don't cut anyone's food anymore.
I don't have to hire a baby sitter and beg that sitter to tolerate multiple kids. I don't have to grab the biggest table at any event, or save an entire pew at church. Sometimes, it's just me. Sitting by myself.
It's so weird.
At night, I just - go to bed. People might be home, people might not be home. They know their curfews (if they have them), know to lock up and check in and I just - go to bed. If I'm tired, I go to bed early and the world continues to revolve.
It's so weird.