The six Sheppards enter KT's Burger Bar looking for something to eat before our walking tour at the Jenney Museum. Place is packed. Like Sardines. There's a table for us in the back right corner.
As we make our way in, one of the patrons near the door looks at us with saucer eyes, counting the family members, elbowing the dude next to her violently, and not-at-all-quietly says, "Oh my God. Look at all of them!"
Maybe she had spotted something outside or behind us, like a quickly-vanishing flock of flying monkeys or a little trail of mice scootching along the floor. But since I didn't see either of those things, I'm led to believe she was referring to us. All of those Sheppards.
I don't know why this surprised me. I don't know why it surprises me every single time I hear it. There are a lot of us. It was probably the contempt in this particular lady's voice that upset me so much. There was an obvious disdain for children, especially "so many" of them. I guess that's her prerogative. Luckily for everyone involved, I wasn't asking her to take care of them for me.
My kids aren't perfect, but for nearing the end of a two week vacation in a packed-house, excessively-loud-already burger bar, way past lunch time, I would say they had exemplary behavior. Too bad elbow lady wasn't close enough to witness it. Not that it probably would have made a difference.
Whenever I get this reaction to our family size, that Mama Bear thing kicks in. Please don't talk disparagingly about my babies, especially in front of my babies. There are all sorts of clever comments from strangers:
Don't you know how this happens? (Nope. Will you please explain it to me?)
Boy are your hands full! (Yup, full of good stuff.)
You must have the patience of Job. (Good one! Ask my kids about this.)
So, are you going to be the next Duggar family? (Probably not, but we do do our laundry Duggar-style. That's a whole 'nother blog post altogether.)
You trying for a basketball team? (Well, as a matter of fact...)
That would be Week 13's Egg Photo...with evidence of a fertilized egg in there.
Shep#5 will be debuting in late November (and, if history is any indication, not a day sooner, I'm sure).
We are thrilled to have been blessed with the gift of life. And we will accept God's blessing and do our best in our call as parents in raising him/her.
We've got three super-excited big siblings (Leah is probably not going to be too happy about this, but time will tell and I'm sure prayer will help). And we are just tickled pink (or blue). Man, I love these kids.
And Shep#5, we love you too.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father. ~James 1:17