I never really considered our family a freak show…until Monday, that is.  Let me explain.

As part of our “Saturday Family Fun” project, which debuted this spring, we had a heck of an Easter weekend which I will tell you all about on Saturday.  I’m going to fast forward to Monday.

Scott had the day off – love that perk – so we headed down to Gruene.  The original gig was to head to San Antonio and eat at our favorite Italian hole-in-the-wall, Dough, but they were closed.  At least we checked online before heading out the door.  So, Gruene (for you non-Texans, it’s pronounced “Green”) it was.  We were stoked about lunch at the Grist Mill.  Seriously.  If you have not had their chicken fried anything with a heaping pile of onion rings, capped off with pecan chocolate chip pie, then you, my friends, have not lived life fully.

The mill is an old cotton gin, turned restaurant, with sweeping views of the hill country, open air seating and fantastic food.  It’s a family favorite.  The wait staff seated us and the stares and comments began almost immediately.

“1-2-3-4-5…wow,” said one passerby.

Another shook her head.

Yet another quite nearly broke her neck counting our clan.

The stares were obvious and horribly uncomfortable.

Let me offer this disclaimer:  the kids were absolute angels.  No screaming, crying, fit throwing, yelling, punching, whining or otherwise in which to draw unnecessary attention to our table.  In other words, the kids were perfect and we still got comments.  Sheez.  What’s a mom to do?

I think the worst was a mom of two who was having serious behavior issues with her two-year-old (been there, done that) and she stopped at our table and proceeded to visibly count our children.  Loudly.  She then looks at Scott and says, “Man, y’all have FIVE and I only have TWO.  I can’t even keep mine under control.”  Then she took said screaming child back to her table.

Will looks over and says, “That was kinda rude, Mom.”

Yes, yes it was.

I mean, it’s not like I, or any of us, would walk up to a table of one child, look at the parents and exclaim, “Sheez.  You only have one kid?  When are you having another?”  Because that would be…rude.

The one super bright spot was a kind gentleman, around 70 or so, that patted Scott on the shoulder just before we prayed over our food.  He said to us both, “You’re doing a fine job.  Keep up the good work.”  I don’t know who you are Mr. Green Ballcap man with a friendly smile.  But I like you.

I realize that not everyone wants a big family.  That’s cool.  But don’t stare at us like we’re caged animals.  Just offer a, “You have a beautiful family” and keep walking.  Because the reality is this.  We all have beautiful families, if you have 0 children or 20.

After Will made his comment, Scott and I just smiled and then told the kids we loved each one of them.  My parting question to Will was this, “What are big families, buddy?”

“A blessing,” he replied.

7 Comments

  1. Kraft on April 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Absolutely something else… We get a little flack from the family when we mention we're going to have as many kids as God gives us, but that's nothing compared to that…

  2. amanda on April 9, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Gees Louise. Haven't these people seen TLC recently. There are big families out there – they're not an anomaly. They do exist.

  3. Lloyd Crew on April 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    You need to get Tshirts made for when you go out. Something clever enough to tell people to keep their mouths/stares to themselves, but cute enough that you don't feel rude. You're so creative – I'm sure you can come up w/ something! You can almost get shirts with baseball positions on the back – but you need a few more 🙂 you could borrow Ava… and I could bring you my 2…

  4. Verdina Louisa on April 9, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Good for Will!!! I wonder what they would say if my son with seven dhildren showed up???

    God bless y'all!

  5. Indiana Elephant on April 10, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Good for you for calling it like it is for all of us! At a PTO meeting once I actually had a woman tell me she only had two kids… "because I know when to stop." No joke! The evil me suggests that you should've told that woman, "Yes, isn't God amazing in his infinite wisdom! It seems he only provides us with what we can handle well. I guess we all have our limits."

    Then again, people are amazingly rude no matter what. I grew up as an only child because my parents struggled mightily with infertility. Almost every time I told someone new I was an only I got to hear "Oh. So a spoiled only, huh? I guess you get everything you want." Sometimes it's too bad all us humans are allowed to talk!

  6. Shannon on April 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Sorry people are weird, Whitakers. If it makes you feel any better, our choice to have one child has been just as controversial. I have heard "How could you?" "You'll ruin her!" "She'll hate you later for not giving her a sibling" "Are you infertile?" People tend to fear/question anything that's not in their own little world view.

  7. The Ball's Blog on April 12, 2010 at 3:06 am

    I cannot believe it, Kathryn! Isn't it funny how everyone makes the numbers their business? Like Shannon, I have had people ask, even my boss how many children we are going to have. I DON'T KNOW PEOPLE!! We may be done, or we may have more. Right now, we are doing just fine thanks.

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