On Saturday morning, I went to the grocery store with all of our children. My husband had offered to watch some of the children at home, but I told him that I would not always be able to go shopping with our children; one day I would long to have all of our children with me.
As the children and I were standing in the checkout line, the lady in front of me, her cart filled with canned cat food, turned around and said, "My G_ _! Those aren't all your children." I get negative comments so often about our family size that I knew what was coming was not going to be nice. I said a silent prayer, put a smile on my face and stated, "Yes, they are! We have been blessed!" The lady responded, "In the 50s, I went out with a man. When he showed me a photo of his family and I saw that his parents had 14 children, I told him to go to h_ _ _." Without thinking, I replied, "Let's pray that God has mercy on your soul."
I then turned to my children and talked to them about not using God's name in vain, etc.
As we walked to the van, a lady stopped us and said, "Oh, it's so nice to see a large family!" We talked for a bit and she gave me a hug. I am so thankful to God for placing that lady in the parking lot.
Families with one or two children often have a cross to bear because people assume that they have chosen to limit their family size, when this is far from the truth. Large families also have a cross to bear...they have to live with the negative comments about their family size, comments that are made in the presence of their children. I have several friends who are open to life, have been blessed with one or two children and long for a larger family. I pray for them and when they share their sorrow with me, I remind them that Mary and Joseph only had one child and theirs was the perfect family. I hope that they pray for me, too, and rejoice with me when I hear a positive comment about the size of my family. In the end, family size is not going to determine whether or not we get to Heaven, being open to life, following the examples of the saints, knowing, loving, and serving God will.
by Esteban Murillo
by Esteban Murillo