In the big family world we just have a modest sized family with seven children. Not impressive at all. Apparently the big family world does not mingle with the rest of the world too often. I cannot believe the reactions I have gotten lately, even with just a few of my children.
In an elevator the other day, I just had my three girls with me. An older lady told me smilingly, that I sure had my hands full with three little girls. I didn't feel like engaging the whole crowded elevator by revealing that the real handful (four boys) had been left at home. I just smiled.
Yesterday, at Costco, I had the three youngest and one of the older kids to help me. A lady walked past and said in shocked voice "Wow, four!" I told her there were more at home and she nearly ran away from me. I should have just smiled.
I understand and appreciate when people make kind remarks or ask genuine questions. I, myself, try to compliment parents on their children, in all family sizes. I just don't understand the rude or prying comments.
My children aren't using up anyone else's oxygen. They are fairly well behaved most of the time. We generate less trash than some of our neighbors with far fewer people in their homes. We are not on government assistance. I don't go around making rude or prying remarks to perfect strangers. (Though I suppose some of my siblings might accuse me of it.)
I certainly would never walk past someone and say, "One child! You must have a television!" or "No children, your hands are empty!" And the classic, "Only two children? Let me explain to you how to get more."
Dads seem to be good at making snappy replies with a big grin that charms the commenters. Most dads even seem to enjoy the exchange. I usually just smile politely and try to finish our business as unobtrusively as possible.
I know we will get these types of comments as long as we have more than a few young children living at home. I probably will not get used to it. But there are people that are so kind, they make up for all the others. Recently a lady told me how lovely she thought my family was and how seeing us made her regret only having two children. She promised to pray for our family. Kind prayers from a stranger. I can't ask for better than that!