A friend recently posted a picture of her "big family" on Facebook. I laughed when I saw it, because she and her husband have four kids. To me, that's a nice, medium-sized family.
When I had Zachary and Annaliese, my grandmother told me I had, "One of each, a boy and a girl, a millionaire's family, made to order."
When we had Josiah, this same grandmother consoled herself by saying, "Two boys, an heir and a spare!"
I sent her a birth announcement after Sam was born.
At my grandfather's memorial, I showed up great-with-child (and I really can't remember which, but I *think* it must have been Eli). She spied me across the room, scowled and said in that "old people who speak louder than they realize" sort of way, "She's having another one?!"
Now that I'm older and wiser (snort) I realize it was about perspective for her, too. She had 2 bad marriages. Her first husband had an affair with her best friend. Her second husband was an alcoholic who had a hard time keeping a job. She struggled like heck to raise her 2 kids in dirt poor conditions. At the time, I didn't see it.
It's merciful she went to heaven before we started adopting, because she was very narrow minded and racist, and would never have understood us adopting a "crippled" "commie" baby.
This isn't meant to be a "bag on grandma" post. It's about perspective. Understanding that what seems normal to us may not seem normal to someone else, and vice versa.
This hit home for me this morning. I follow a bunch of blogs. Friends, adoption, foster care, large families, etc. As I was scrolling through new posts this morning, I came to one picture that just looked institutional to me. I found myself thinking, "Twelve kids! That is a ginormous family!"
Hello, pot? This is kettle speaking. You're adopting #9. You just convinced your husband, against his better judgement, to have the homestudy written for 2 kids, "just in case." You, my friend, are every bit as much of a freak, it's just that your kids aren't all under the same roof at the same time.
I'm sure I have friends who think we have "a ginormous family." But, to me, it's normal. I can do 7 kids. I've been doing 7 kids since Furby was born, with the exception of the 9 months between when Zach left for boot camp and when we traveled to pick up Hannah, when we only had 6. (Only 6 kids. Are any of you laughing at me?) Since Annaliese is so close to spreading her wings and leaving the nest, it's likely that the overlap between Katie coming home and Annaliese leaving (if any, depending on adoption timelines and Ese's plans for next school year) will be fairly short. The dynamic will change, but the number of people in the house doesn't actually swell that much. I'm still counting the same number of heads on outings, still doing the same amount of laundry, still buying the same amount of groceries.
This whole convoluted thought process is a good reminder to me to not be so swift to make judgments on those whose choices are different from mine. I know I hate feeling like others are criticizing my choices without seeing things from my point of view.