My neighbor (who we talk to only a few times a year, yelling across the street from our respective yards): Those aren't babies anymore!
Me (holding Luke, with Clara nearby): Ya... they're getting big!
Neighbor: We're expecting another one!
Me: Oh, congratulations!
Neighbor: And I just got fixed...
Me: (Stunned for a moment) I hope that happened after the pregnancy! Ha ha ha.
Neighbor: We thought we had done it in time, but apparently we didn't!
Me: (Nervous laugh) Huh... Well, congratulations!
This couple has three (I think?) kids already so this will be the fourth. Talk about close calls! That kid got in just in the knick of time.
And, yes, my response was pretty lame, but it wasn't exactly what I expected him to tell - or, rather, yell - to me in the middle of our neighborhood.
I've been thinking about it a lot, and of course I'm against getting "fixed" as a practicing Catholic, someone who is open to life, and as a former-infertile. But I've been trying to look at it from their perspective. I would have to guess they don't have a lot of money; our neighborhood isn't exactly wealthy. And I am willing to bet that their family of five is seen as rather large in their world. Their house is exactly like ours (if not a tiny bit bigger), so their kids have to already share rooms and a fourth will crowd it even more.
The idea of accepting as many children as God would give them is probably a foreign concept to them, I'm guessing. I know it is to the world at large. Lately, we have told quite a few people that that's our stance, and it's always met with curiosity, amazement or shock.
Case in point... We were at a wedding a couple months ago, sitting at a table full of my husband's co-workers, when talk turned to our family size.
Co-worker: Karey, now that you've had Luke, how many more do you want to have?
Me: As many as God gives us.
Co-worker: Haha.. no, really.
Me: No, really. As many as God give us. That could be ten, or that could be two.
Co-worker: I thought Ryan was kidding when he told us that!
(Aw, my husband talks about being open to God's will for our family, even when I'm not around. I love him!)
I actually didn't mind at all that that co-worker asked me about it. He seemed genuinely interested. And I also don't mind when people are surprised, as everyone at the table was. I know we live in a world where accepting as many children as God gives you is shocking. Now, I probably wouldn't enjoy being met with disgust, but that hasn't happened yet.
Although, I have had the "better you than me" remarks from strangers in the mall who see my double stroller with two little babies. They have even glared, in a way that would imply they are seeing my lovable little angels in a negative light.
But that's okay.
I take it all in stride. I'm just glad I have my babies for people to make those remarks about. I'm glad we have our fertility in tact (at least what there may be of it). I'm glad we have been taught about being open to life. And I'm glad we are open to life.
In the world we live in, it's so easy to not see the beauty in that.
It's all a blessing.