Dad probably would have stayed home, but we were going to go to Boston Market after the stop at Target to take advantage of a "Kid's Eat Free" coupon, and we needed him. Well, he needs food. And with one adult per child on the coupons, we needed him too.
So I randomly picked two kids to go in the back of my mom's car. My father willingly scooped up the leftover boy and put him in the back of his car, and off we went.
I had promised the boys a $10 superhero toy if they reached a swimming goal. I thought it would take them most of the summer but gosh darn it they hadn't accomplished their goal already: snagged a ring from the four foot mark (Isaac); swam across the deep end (Elijah).
So off to Target we went.
In our two cars.
I waddled into Target with my huge belly and my three small children, instantly thankful for the presence of my parents. We were used to a military Base Exchange on a tiny island. A place that had one half of an aisle of toys to look at. A place that I didn't worry if the kids went missing on another aisle for a second. (Not that they'd want to move to the next aisle since it had dog food on it.)
Super Target in South Florida?
Not even on the same planet.
The extra eyes were invaluable as each boy changed their mind seventeen times while my little lady opted to go and find something much more pink in nature. During the negotiations (they have no idea what $10 actually is so I must keep saying "that's too much. pick something else.") one child had to go to the bathroom. Another pulled a whole ream of superheroes off the rack.
I feel the stares.
I often feel like I should be wearing a t-shirt that says: "I'm not that woman." Or maybe one that says: "Wait! You don't know the whole story."
Ten years of marriage. Five years of infertility. Five failed IUI's. Four failed IVF's. Adoption. Pregnancy. Pregnancy again. A return for some of our IVF embryos. Pregnant again on the last try.
And so here I waddle into Target with three other children in tow.
On our little military base, this is no big deal. People are used to seeing me. I am used to the people. We know each other. They know my story. And it's the military (where I have found larger families to be the norm.)
But leave the confines of the Base and suddenly all bets are off.
So is the edit button people's mouths.
On the way out of Target, a man was "helping" me get the two randomly chosen children into my mother's backseat. By "helping" I mean he was trying to get me to hurry up so that I could shut the backdoor of the car, and he could get into his car. He said, and I quote: "I'm trying to figure out why you have that belly when you already have these two children in the backseat."
(And he didn't even know about third child going into my dad's car.)
Another woman asked me: "Are all of these yours?" at the park. When I replied yes and saw her expression, I playfully quipped: "God's plans are not our plans." She replied: "Well, I am glad you are choosing to look at it so positively and with such a good attitude. I wouldn't be."
And when asked my due date by another woman, I told her that I had a C-section scheduled for September 4th. She said, "Aren't you gonna try to have a natural delivery?"
Note: Maybe I need to wear another shirt that says: "Was in labor 1.5 days. Tried to push my first kid out for three hours before being taken back for a stat C-section."
I've been out of the country for three, going on four years. Husband stationed in Turkey for two years. Now in Portugal for going on year four.
I forgot how brazenly honest Americans can be. People in Europe don't ask such personal questions or make such obnoxious statements so readily. I get that. I am remembering that.
I remember when Isaac was little. He was pigeon toed. Still is a bit. This woman stopped me and said, "Oh my gosh. He has the parrot feet." I didn't even try to correct her by explaining that the correct expression is pigeon toed. "Have you had the doctor look at them?"
And I've heard, "Oh my gosh is she tall," more times this trip than I have heard it in the three years I have been gone.
Okay, a bit of a tangent. Rude, obnoxious Americans is a whole 'nother post for another day.
But the stares and comments about my brood. The looks that scream, "You are pregnant? With three little kids?"
Well, let me address that once and for all right now. I'm just going to write this here now so I can say it once and not feel like I need to say it again and again.
Yes, sometimes I think I am crazy too. I ask myself
How did I go from a barren womb to a family of six (seven if you count the dog) in just five years?
God, do you really think I am capable of this?
How do I do this?
I think to myself
This is hard.
I wonder of myself
If I am really capable.
If I will fail.
How I will manage when this little girl is on the outside.
I am learning that truly, the only way to do this is to trust. To trust God. To put it in His hands. That's it. That's all there has to be.
(And to ignore ignorant Americans who make stupid statements just because they can't keep their mouths shut!)