Monday, January 14

On Being an Oddity

Today at Target we exited the store with a literal crowd staring at us.  I didn't notice. 
Annaliese said, "Um, Mom, look.  Everyone is staring at us."
No children were screaming, we didn't break anything; no, it was from our sheer number that the entire realm of Target turned and cranked their necks to watch us go.

We smiled and said, "hi", picked our bags and babies out of the cart and left.
The Great White Beast, as I've taken to calling the Econoline, is also an attraction.  I've noticed there is an affinity between drivers/parkers of large passenger vans as  I've come out of several stores to find another parked by mine.  It makes me smile. Strength in numbers, I suppose. :)

My friend Amy posted on being the black sheep and I cozied up to the idea that I am not the only oddball mama/black sheep Christian, and though she and I are on opposite coasts, may there be strength in our number.
Honestly, it is okay to be different.  The world would be dull if it weren't for variety.  I actually like it most days, except for those days when I realize I haven't had a meaningful adult conversation in weeks, or was it last summer?  C'est la vie.  Hallelujah for a sister who agrees to tag along for a morning of thrifting with eight kids in tow and hallelujah for the Great White Beast that holds us all with "Spare Oom".
Fun crazy day of thrifting w @katiesgrasso  and a few kids.
Benjamin is here on my lap, nodding off, giving me hope for time for a soak in the tub.  Annaliese is at the table with me, singing along to JJHeller, "breath into my spirit, breath into my veins, until only love remains", the littles are in bed, and Sean and Andrew are out.  I've finished Desperate and in a moment of desperate insanity, offered to host a book study on it here, which quickly filled and sends me wondering as to my sanity - you know, new babe and crunchy floors and all to contend with.  Currently I'm reading Gospel Powered Parenting and The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, because while I can't touch the piles of pretty fabric calling my name with a nursing babe, I can read again.
Resting Sunday afternoon at the great grandparents, who in their seventies still insist on cooking for our #large family.
Tent playing crazies by my feet.

*Edited to add: I apologize for the above links not working.  I'm not sure if it is a blogger glitch or amazon glitch but I'll try again later today to see if I can get them to work.


Momma Bug said...

Good fun. I posted on the same experience just a couple days ago - first time ever, I was asked if we "were that family on TV?"

Um no. But when I go out, I sure FEEL like I'm on TV!

I've been so blessed with positive commentary, which is pretty amazing in this culture - particularly in a large city.

I'm sure you bring a lot of light and life with you into those stores and so into peoples sphere. It's still hard work though.
Cary on with grace friend!


Annie said...

Our family van was a Dodge caravan. Only fit half of our family of 13, but I mention it, because it was affectionately nicknamed Great White.

Oh, and I'd totally hang w/a mom of 7 :)

All best to you and your beautiful family.

Anonymous said...

"Are ALL those children yours?" ;o)

Love the blue and white sweater.

Sarah said...

Your timing in posting this was perfect. We do not (yet) have a large family like you. Though we've prayed for children and a large family for years, we were unable to have any kids until we adopted baby twins this fall. Because the babies are twins, and because they are African-American and we're not, we're now what's known as a "conspicuous family". So far the reactions have been positive, but we draw stares everywhere we go and the constant attention can be wearing for an introvert like me. Last week while out on a daytrip on a cold day we stopped at a coffee shop to let the babies out of their carseats and give them some room to wiggle and play. Easily a dozen people commented or came by to chat, and everyone else who entered or left the shop stopped to stare. It's so hard to find the balance between having a little privacy and remembering to smile and welcome others as Christ would. It's pretty obvious to anyone who looks that our children were adopted, and one of the biggest things I hope they see is how positive the outcome of a pro-life choice by a birthmother in difficult circumstances can be. Our hope is that when others see us they'll see such joy in the parents and such love in our family that they'll think twice before stating that aborting babies like ours is the best option. Running across a post like this from the mother of another family that draws stares is so helpful and encouraging!

Bonnie said...

As one of 10 kids, I'm very familiar with being an oddity, and while to me our 5 isn't very many, it sure is to everyone else! As a treat, I took the kids to meet up with my mom and my sisters while the men-folk were all out hunting the first day of gun season. 2 tables of people inside the restaurant turned to watch us pile out of the The L- Lugger (as opposed to Yoder Toter), one of them obviously counting as the kids exited. I definitely had the feeling of "We have arrived in Oddville." Kinda makes me laugh though- at the lady at the grocery store who out-right asked if they all have the same father. (which just shows how much we've fallen as a society. that that is a legitimate question nowadays, and that she had the poor manners to ask it), and at the lady who was so impressed to see me out with my 5, because her 2 would be making her crazy right now. Makes me happy to run into people like the one at the doctors who excitedly asked me how many kids I had, and when I told her, she got even more excited and told me she had 8, and isn't it just the greatest thing? Lack of sleep has made me forget my original point, but I think it was something along the lines of I'd park my 12 passenger van alongside yours. Oddity Moms Unite!

Rebecca said...

When reading of your Target account, my first thought as your daughter said "Look- EVERYONE is staring!" was to stick your chin up and stand tall and say "Yeah! It's like we are FAMOUS!" :-)

As a mother who needs a few more fingers and toes and catch up to you, I still feel your pain. What is especially hurtful in my case is that the most shock and awe happens WITHIN the family. This past weekend, my in-laws had the "snip snip" talk with my husband!

Strength in numbers and strength with God. Sometimes I comfort myself knowing that, in a way, this is how we are being persecuted for our faith. And God will bless us and sustain us through persecution.

You are a beautiful family and who cares about all the negative looks- maybe you will raise an eyebrow that you never even see for a woman or man who says to themselves "It CAN be done!" or "I want THAT!"

Mandi said...

While my van is just a caravan - and I only have two children. I do almost always park by another van :) The van club! :)
Host that book club, girl! We all have crunchy floors - people appreciate the realness in that.

Kim said...

If you are an Oddity then rejoice, you are not of this world! May God bless you and your family.

Joy said...

I wish we lived closer, Hannah! I'd love to get together with you for some adult conversation!

Where I live, large families are more common (the Duggars are just around the corner!), so there isn't as much stigma to it. We only have five, though, and our family is considered on the smaller side. Most of our friends have 8-15! Our children regularly say to me, "I wish we had 10 children in our family like everyone else!" :)

Anonymous said...

OH let themm stare.. They are just jealous ! I would be.. I love my 2.. but I would have loved to had more...

Sue in NJ

Alison said...

Loved the post! Come down to Southeast Virginia near the coast. We have TONS of big families with huge vans as well as a huge population of homeschoolers. You would fit right in. You should see the lines of gigantic vans in my in-laws' church parking lot on Sunday mornings. They have an actual "household" service there that caters to large families with all participating in worship together. I just finished Desperate as well and am anxious to read more along that vein. Any recommendations? Blessings! said...

You are being a witness to what family our day and age that is SO needed.