Jun 27, 2009

True Confessions

Or, "why stop now, while I am hanging out all the dirty laundry"?

Last time I shared my favorite answer to the usually shocked questions about our family size. There are a lot more questions that we get that are more pragmatic in nature and are usually easier to answer (though not as much fun).

Q: How much laundry do you do?
A: Way too much. On a good day somewhere between 4 and 5 loads. This is in the largest available front loading washing machine that can be found outside of a laundromat. On a bad day (bed wetting, tummy tossing, muddy dogs in the bed, potty training, etc) this easily translates to 7-8 loads. The issue is not so much how much laundry do we wash, it is how on earth do we get it put away? The answer is that we don't. In our living room we have two rocker/recliners and a large couch. Which is actually pressed into service as the worlds largest laundry basket, seeing as how we no longer have a playpen that will suffice.

Q: What is your grocery bill like?!
A: Large. This is discouraging to me. As recently as 2004 our monthly food budget was about $350. This covered mom, dad and seven children. I felt pretty good about that number. A few things happened between then and now, though. There was a sharp increase in food prices last year. The same can of soup that I bought previously for ¢.99 is now $1.33. A 1/2 lb package of store brand cream cheese used to be ¢.88 and is now $1.25. These increases add up. A much larger increase is really to blame for the sharp jump in our food budget and that is the increases in the ages of our children. In 2004 our oldest "child" was 16. In a few weeks we will have FOUR children that age or older plus more toddlers. All of this conspires to push our monthly food bill to three times what it was in 2004. That is a huge amount of money to me and I deal with panic in the checkout line at grocery stores. The truth is that in all reality $1000 is likely pretty darn good for 13 people, it is just more than I ever thought I would regularly spend at the grocery store. And that is with getting "free" milk and eggs!

Q: What kind of job does your husband do to provide for everyone?!
A: Well..um...he is a dairy goat farmer.

Q: You must be very patient!
A: I never get to answer this one, no point, my words would be drowned out by the peals of laughter coming from my older children.

Q: What kind of car do you drive? Do you ever go anywhere as a family?
A: We drive a fifteen passenger van so it is easy for us to go places together. In fact we could have two MORE children and still be able to all fit in the van.

Q: You must really love children!
A: Well, I love MY children. I am not one of those truly sainted people who love all the world's children and give their lives in the rescue thereof.

Q: You must be very organized!
A: Well yes, I am. Thank you very much for noticing.

Now, as my family chokes on my words, before they can even raise an eyebrow I had better come clean.

I am NOT organized. I am the epitome of DISorganization. My desk is a shambles, I haven't seen a pair of matched socks other than at Walmart in a very long time. Consistent readers of this blog know why there have been no pictures in quite a while. I routinely lose phone numbers and my "to do" list is eternally lost, save for the recently rediscovered one from 1995. I think it quite possible that God considers me one of His funniest jokes--the woman with ADD to the max responsible for shepherding eleven children through childhood safely into responsible adulthood. To be honest, sometimes the effort taken to get through the day seems insurmountable.

So why do it?

Because this is what I do. I believe that God has called me to this. I know that many who may read this blog do not believe as I do. They may be Christians who have a different perspective of God than I do, they may be agnostics or even atheists who do not believe in God. Regardless, this is what I believe that God would have me do. Some He calls to be doctors in India. (Or Detroit.) Some He calls to be scientists researching cancer cures. Some he calls to be teachers, passing along wisdom and knowledge. Me, He calls to be a dairy farmer and a mom of far more children than any sane woman would consider. I believe that the best way to spend our lives is, to use the cliche, on something that will out last us. How much clearer is this than in raising children? Sometimes I believe that God has called me to this to teach and train ME, His child, to trust Him more. There are times that I think that in some perverse way, seeing me struggle and often fail may encourage others that if I can fall on my face time and time again and still try to get up and still smile, then maybe they can as well. And sometimes, on particularly dark days I think that I may be an encouragement to others because they may say "wow. My boss just fired me, my house burned down, my dog bit me and I just stubbed my toe. But my life is still great compared to having eleven children!" (Hmmm...I think I heard that song on the country station the other day!) At any rate, this is what I feel called to do, to show my trust in God, in His plan and in His provision by turning my life over to him wholly and completely and the biggest way to do this is by giving Him free rein in my body and life. Call it anachronistic, call it absurd, call it misguided. It is my life and I am doing my utmost to live it to the glory of God every single day.

So daily I get up, take a deep breath, pray for peace and strength and walk in the way set before me.

If I could just find my shoes I might get further, though...

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Beautiful post! I used to feel horrible after reading blogs where the mom of many had everything under control all the time. I just couldn't live up to that and wondered what I was doing wrong.

Now that I have 7 of my own, I realize I don't have to feel bad anymore, because they had to be lying! LOL OK maybe not, but still life is NEVER perfect, but my family and home is what the Lord has lovingly allowed to be "my" heaven on Earth!

I appreciate your candid posts about the REAL life of a mom of many!