The other day we were at Costco. I had the twins in the cart and the baby in the front pack (not even the whole herd like usual), when a little old lady passed by with a twinkle in her eye and said, "Those were the good old days." It took me a minute to register my emotion, and then I realized - relief! I understand if you live somewhere else, comments like that may be common. But here, I usually have to brace myself and fasten on my social graces when I see someone about to open their mouth to me. There's the ever common "You have your hands full," but here is said without a hint of admiration; rather, it's said with the same reaction my children have to dogs - the person scooting to the other corner of the elevator before one of my children breathes, sneezes, coughs, pees, or gets their grimy fingers on them. (Of course, you have to remember that Miami is the place for singles who want to hone their bodies to bronze perfection during the day and flaunt them at the clubs at night. Children are a serious threat to their lifestyle.) "You're done, aren't you?" is another frequently used one, often followed by, "You should be." (My dentist here emphatically used this multiple times...before I had my last child.) "Are they all yours?" of course, but a version of this I infer from the looks of the Miami crowd when we're anywhere near the ghetto and they see Ryan and I together is, "They all from the same daddy?????"
Anyhow, I reflected on this woman's comment on the way home and wondered if at some future time I would say that to someone else. When my eyes got teary thinking about it, I decided the answer must be yes. Even now as I sit here, baby napping, twins happily (and humorously) playing Mr. Potato head, and I sit munching on cookie dough as I steal away for a few minutes on the computer...what could be better?
I love, loved this talk this past weekend in general conference by Elder Andersen.(General conference is a bi-anual event where we listen to the leaders of the church and it's broadcast throughout the world.) He said very simply, "We believe in families. And we believe in children." He talked about how where the standards of the world and the standards of the church used to be compatible, they now are often widely separated. Having kids was one of these since many people now marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. It was just a nice reminder that it takes faith to have kids in the world today, and especially not to be afraid to rank children as more important than all the luxuries, money and perfect body we could have if we focused on those instead. I'll admit, it definitely takes faith to live on one salary in Miami - it's an extremely unpopular and uncommon scenario here. It takes doing without a lot of things that would be nice to have, but I have to remind myself it's a worthy trade for my kids to have each other and for me to be here with them.
The thing I really don't get here is all these rich people have one or maybe two kids who get a mercedes when they turn 16, get their ivy league college degree paid for and a house as a gift when they graduate. But then it seems that all the underprivileged people here are the only ones I see with big families. Doesn't make sense. Shouldn't all these educated and wealthy people be the ones trying to re-populate the world? Is the world going to get progressively dumber?
Anyhow, there are the few people though that look at us warmly and I get the sense they have their faith in marriage and family restored. The rest of them may look at us with disdain... but their children think we're awesome.