Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Many Years Later December 5, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 1:48 pm
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A certain person I know has, for years, said negative and demeaning things about people who have large families. Things like “they’re crazy”, “they must be nuts”, “how can they give their kids enough attention”, “it’s ridiculous (or irresponsible) to have that many kids”. And so on.

Believe it or not, I have kept my mouth shut — taking it with a grain of salt each time.
That is, until today.

I have had it up to my hairline and beyond with these kinds of remarks. It doesn’t help that this person and I had a heated discussion yesterday regarding the dumbest advice I think I’ve ever been given by a person who has no right even breathing a word on the subject considering this person’s lack of responsible behavior in a certain area. That is vague on purpose.

My parents raised 7 children. My paternal grandparents raised 13 while my maternal grandparents raised 8. To say I come from a big family is the understatement of the year. I believe I have somewhere around 75 first cousins with both families combined. I have no idea how many of those cousins have produced children of their own. I’m sure the numbers now are well over 100 with first and second cousins combined. And we’re still having children. Some of my first cousins are still under the age of 10. I think a couple may even be under age 5. Huge family! Absolutely humongous!

In my family segment, my precious parents (who have been married for over 36 years) have their ninth grandchild on the way (our wee one). One of my sisters is trying to get pregnant with her 2nd. One of my sisters has three girls. My brother has 2 girls. My youngest sister just got married last weekend. Two of my siblings are in serious relationships, but not married yet. That leaves a whole bunch of room for more nieces and nephews for me and many more grandchildren for my parents of awesomeness. I think Christmas, one day, will be unbelievably expensive for all of us. Yikes!!

So for anyone to condemn large families to me is like calling my entire family a bunch of idiots.

Not a good idea.
It’s an even worse idea while I’m all chock full of hormones and 8 months pregnant.
Yeah. Dumb move.

So I did what any upstanding young woman with her third child on the way would do. I shot the person dead and now I’m going to jail.

Nah. In my mind I wanted to rip out hair and poke out eyeballs though.

First of all, both of my lovely heathens were fighting and yelling in the seat right behind me. The person on the phone heard the commotion and said “what would you do if you had 10 of them”. I said “I’d throw every last one out the window”. We chuckled. Then the person said “well what do you think about people who do have 10 kids then — they are nuts, aren’t they”? I stopped the chuckle right then. “You know what” I said. “You’ve been saying derogatory things about people who have a lot of kids for many years now and I’ve put up with it. I’ve been patient. I’ve been kind. But you must understand that when you say things like that you are putting down my entire family and that hurts my feelings. I don’t like it even a little bit and it doesn’t amuse me.” The person sounded taken aback and said “what well I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I just mean that I couldn’t handle it”. I received and accepted an apology and then quickly got off the phone.

Right after that the girls at Subway started in on me having a girl and a boy already and what made me decide to have another child since I have one of each. I must be crazy they say and all three laugh it up. I played along. Deep inside I was painfully aware of the way I am viewed by society. I have too many kids. I am crazy to want more. How do I do what I do? Why? How? Ha ha ha this is so funny and entertaining.

No.

It’s not funny. It’s not entertaining.
It’s disgusting.

I am proud of my family. I am proud of my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins who have decided to grow their families despite what anyone else thinks or says. I had a wonderful childhood. I would change nothing about it. I love my family deeply.

I’m sick of being the butt of jokes. I am sick of being the circus who just arrived because it’s oh such a novelty to ask Heidi to tell the whole room full of people how many cousins/aunts/uncles or whatnot she has. I can hear the circus music play as the laughter fills the room along with the wide-eyed expressions on the faces of unbelieving or astonished people.

My family is not a circus.
My family is not crazy.
My family is awesome.

If it were up to me, I’d have more children. Not the natural way, however. But if Rich would open his heart to it I’d certainly adopt — at least one, maybe more.

I love kids.
I grew up surrounded by love.
My family may not have lots of money, but they sure do have lots of love.
An overabundance of it, in fact.

And. It. Makes. Me. Proud.

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16 Responses to “Many Years Later”

  1. Lorna Says:

    ahh, I have one of those relatives in my family. She scoffs everytime someone in her family becomes pregnant. And we’re not talking many babies, we’re taking a baby or one more baby. It’s a wonder she got through raising three of her own the way she talks about them like they are some sort of useless baggage. Very sad indeed. I have always just ignored the remarks myself, but one of these days I fear the pent of anger is going to burst. I hope I handle it as gracefully as you did.

    You have every right to love as many children as you like and I, for one, support you on that one!

  2. mommato3blessings Says:

    Honey, you be proud of your family. Some in my circle think I was a freak for wanting a 3rd. A 3rd! That’s NOT a large family! I got the comments all the time about having the “perfect family- a boy & a girl…why would I want to mess that up with a 3rd”?!?!? I was floored- how could my precious baby MESS UP my family? Geesh. Miss E has only added the must fun and amazing dynamic to our family, not for one milisecond would I trade having her for anything!

    I am in awe of large families. I think they rock, and I would have loved to have even more kids. Now that I can’t, well, I just enjoy others who do.

  3. candidchatter Says:

    Thanks ladies. 🙂

    Heidi

  4. Jason Says:

    Hey Heidi, I guess I’m a nut job too, I have four kids, and the thought crossed my mind about adoption lastnight. My dad has 13 siblings, my mom has 8. I don’t have a clue how many first cousins I have. The way I see it some people don’t want to be happy, that’s why they don’t have a bunch of kids. I have a friend that has six sisters, her mom and dad have 28 grand children. Bunches of love….

  5. Tony York Says:

    My dad was one of 11… my mom, one of 5. I am one of 4. I have 2.

    And they are enough… not that I wouldn’t be happy with more but because I am happy with what I have been given. God has blessed me with 2. Maybe one day we will be blessed with another in a different way.

    I say that because I one of those who will, in good humor, rib those couples that have an ‘abundance’ of blessings. Not as a way to ridicule but in an attempt to recognize their amazing ability to manage more than what society may think as ‘normal’.

    I have used expressions like “you guys must me crazy”. But, again, not in a condescending attitude.

    Sounds like this person that you referred to really believes it is crazy… there are some that may make a similar statement but in a different context.

    Why do I rattle on like this? The world may never know.

  6. Heidi: As I write this my one and only grandson has a 103 degree temp. Long drive of 4 hours for that. But i would do it in a heartbeat again just to see him! My folks had 5 boys (one died a day after he was born). My bride and i have two. If we were younger we would adopt…probably from China or some foreign country. We stopped for various reasons but that didn’t take away our parental instincts. We love kids. For those who choose to have as many as God gives them…more blessing to them. I pray every day for you & a healthy baby (with the name I have suggested. 😉

  7. karmat Says:

    I only have two children, but not by choice. Bernard and I married later in life, and it took us a while to conceive travis. Now, my age, and health issues with the first two, have made us make the decision to not have any more. 😦

    I consider large families a blessing. My mom was 11 of 12, my MIL had 10 bros and sisters, my father and FIL both had 4 other siblings. (between my husband and myself, we have almost 200 first and second cousins. unlike you, though, it is the next generation’s turn, i think this one is about done).

    My brother has four boys. When the youngest was born, the oldest was 9 or so. They kept getting asked, “Have you figured out what causes this?” I’ve decided that might possibly be the most tacky question imaginable. Maybe only second to, “How much money do you make a year.” (And, like Tony said, I do rib them, but I make sure they know it is because I admire them, not think they are truly crazy.)

    I have a friend who has five. When he gets asked that, his wife told me responded one time, “Oh yea, and we’re good at it, too.” Because he is a Baptist preacher, they were quite taken aback.

  8. candidchatter Says:

    Jason: Oh how I pray Rich’s heart will change and he will come to me one day and say “honey, I’m ready — let’s adopt”. [sigh] I agree that childless people will never know true happiness. My life would not be as rich as it is if I had no kids.

    Tony: I put up with it for as long as I did b/c I thought it was a joke. But the more the person has said things the more condescending it has started to sound and I finally had to say something. This person has also made remark after remark to my husband which really ticks me off in the worst way since he is the barrier to having more kids. I really don’t need anyone convincing him that 3 is enough (or more than enough).

    Bill: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers. I am deeply touched by that. I hope your grandson gets well soon and I hope you’re enjoying your time with your daughter and her family. Here’s to a safe return home.

    Karma: Hi!! Thanks for commenting. I’m used to seeing you on Steve’s site. 🙂 I agree with you that “have you figured out what causes this” is a horrible thing to say. And I’ll tell you I have actually been asked how much money my husband makes a year. I think I may have answered that question once and I’m sorry, to this day, that I ever did that.

    Heidi

  9. Heidi…these things belong between the husband and wife only. Family, potential grandparents, friends–their opinions don’t matter. Period. I don’t care what parents think…how many grandkids they want or don’t want…it is none of their business!

    Tonya really wanted a child. We married later in life, and I am older than her. So, I was a little hesitant…well, a lot hesitant. But, through prayer, we made the decision to try.

    I’ve heard all the comments! “You are too old!” “Was it an accident?” “Do you not know how it happens?” Oh, people are so tacky. When pushed too far, I’ll just tell them how much fun it was making our little Evan…and how many “little guys” I must have to be so productive…that generally stops future questions! And, ends the conversation!

    And, gives me a smile to watch their reaction! 🙂

  10. candidchatter Says:

    Steve: Don’t you think, having waited, that you are a better and more patient Daddy? I would think so. My Dad is not the same frazzled man he was in his 20s and 30s. I know you’re not quite his age, but I can see that a more mature Dad can be a really good thing. I know for sure that I would not have been as good a Mommy as I am if I had kids in my 20s. I had Brianna at 31, Jeremy at 32, and now I’m 35. I think it’s better to wait, for some people.

    Heidi

    PS: Anyone who reads this who is related to me shall not take that wrong. Dad is an awesome Dad and I love him dearly. But he is a lot more patient and a lot less stressed in his “later years” than he was when I was a kid. Meant in tender love. Alright. No confusion please. 🙂

  11. Lauren Says:

    Heidi I LOVE big families!

    Seriously, I think of large families as always having someone around, built in best friends, just so much more love and togetherness.

    I’ve heard a lot of rude comments in my few years as a “breeder”.. some people just don’t get it. I am inspired by large families. I don’t think happiness is about how much money you have, but more how much you love and are loved by others. I’m proud that I am raising 4 beautiful little people to be kind, helpful, intelligent and loving people. To me that is what life is all about.

    Oh, and I never thought 4 kids counted as a big family. 8 maybe, but not 3 or 4. hmmm.

  12. candidchatter Says:

    Lauren: I never in my life thought 3 kids was “too many”. I have been surprised this pregnancy to hear all of the negativity. Now if I had 2 boys or 2 girls I’d see the smiling faces and head nods of approval b/c people would assume we were trying for the gender we didn’t have. That seems to be much more acceptable for some strange reason. Anyway. I’ve harped on this topic enough. I would love to have 2 more kids — via adoption. Rich looks at me like a deer in headlights when I say things like that. He tells people now “we’re done”. I think he assumes since I’m having a tubal ligation that I’m done. No dear. I am just tired of being pregnant. My body can’t take it anymore. But my heart would gladly (GLADLY) welcome more children into our fold. I hope you have 8 or 10, girl. You make beautiful and sweet children and you are an excellent Mommy!

    Heidi

  13. carey Says:

    I totally agree with you!!!!

    Love kids, love big families, would of had more if my health permitted!

    Great post Heidi!

  14. Holly Says:

    Pst …

    But, it’s also OK if a couple decides on a small family too.

    And – (I can’t help it, I have to input this too) – but I think happiness is in the eye of the beholder and is, say, relative to each person and their individual world. I fully believe people can achieve full happiness in their lives, with or without children. Some people aren’t meant to parent. Now, people, like us, who are blessed with the desire, support, faith, skill and all that (not to mention we are absolutely darling people to look at – thus we should procreate), will likely find true and immense happiness as parents. But, that’s not to assume others who do live full and happy lives – aren’t actually really happy.

    (**i used to look at justin in the eyes and he me and we would swear that there was no way, not a single even ounce of a way, that anyone – anywhere – could possibly be as happy or as in love as we were. We really truly couldn’t imagine it could get any better! … it’s all relative is my point.)

    Good post. I, however, LOVE when people have me repeat and tell everyone of my family. And I always get smiles. I will admit, God did bless me with great delivery, and when I respond with a great big smile and seem to rise taller than my 5’3″ frame and say, “I am the 3rd of 7 – and the greatest part is that … I’m my dad’s favorite!” I get nothing but cheers. ….

    ha. nanner nanner nanner.

    (P.S. I can’t wait for you all to get my Christmas card – I think I got overly excited ’cause it was snowing and I got a little carried away with my ‘personal touch note’)

  15. candidchatter Says:

    Holly: I can’t wait to get the card. I love your holly berry cards and look forward to them every winter. 🙂 You’re right about small families being OK too. I used to think people who only had 1 child were strange. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to provide that child with a sibling. Now, many years later growing in wisdom and expanding my myopic view, I can see that it’s just the way they like it (or, in some cases, it’s a fertility issue). I think we all vie for “Dad’s Favorite” considering nobody can compete or argue with the fact that Andee is Mom’s. LOL!! Thanks for commenting. XO!

    Heidi

  16. Ivan Says:

    I know I’m late but I wanted to log in for this one: just to say how much I agree, and I particularly hate the social/political moralising. How many kids someone has, and how they feel about that are very personal and private matters and it’s really no-one else’s business (unless something is going wrong and they need help). The busybodies, or committees of busybodies, that come and poke their nose in really do disgust me. The latest “environmentalist” incarnation (too many babies – bad for the planet) is the most disgusting yet. I would call these people anti-human… You can really get people going!


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