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Once more, with feeling

Three unusual events in one mid-December morning:

1. I sneezed in the shower, which caused a chain reaction of gagging and then a loss of my breakfast. Alarming and odd. That never happened to me before. Still, I wasn’t thinking baby, even when…

2. I came downstairs to Aidan asking the household who put the empty box of cereal in the refrigerator? I realized it was my cereal. I did it. Maybe I needed more coffee?

3. Several hours later I was at the kids’ school, helping in Joel’s class. There was a surprise fire drill. The kids, all kindergarten and first-graders, leapt to their feet and filed into a silent and orderly line so expertly that I BURST INTO TEARS. I was so proud of them as we walked down the hallway and out the side door to the designated meeting spot. I have no idea what the teacher thought. Maybe I have some sort of fire drill post-traumatic stress syndrome? Yes, that’s it!

As we walked back into the school after the all-clear, I started adding up the events of the morning. I gag, make mindless mistakes, and cry easily when I’m…pregnant….

I picked up some groceries on the way home. On impulse, I threw a Kroger-brand pregnancy test in the cart. I felt silly.

It was positive.

I was unhappy. The timing was awful.

And then I got a gift for Christmas in the form of a jerk at church.

The Sunday before Christmas we strolled into the church lobby a few minutes late. We encountered a man who we knew from our old church. He was a fixture in the children’s ministry and our kids were in his care many times.

He saw us and said with a chuckle, “Hi, nice to see you. Hope you aren’t having any more kids!”

(for those of you without a big family, I assure you this sort of insult masked as a joke happens frequently)

I replied that I liked our kids. They are good kids.

Oh, how I wanted to stop and tell him it was too late. Sorry, another kid was undergoing rapid cell division in the center of my body. I hoped. I felt fiercely protective of the one who inspired fire drill tears and a chilled empty box of crumbs.

That was the moment I realized it was a great, great gift. I knew it before, I just didn’t know it. I believed it, but I didn’t.

I’ve been through this, but it’s always new.

27 comments to Once more, with feeling

  • “Maybe I have some sort of fire drill post-traumatic stress syndrome?” This got me to really giggling.

    I am so sorry you have to weather ugly insults masked as jokes. Hateful, hateful. At church of all places. Shame on him.

    Amazing how quickly that protective reflex kicks in . . .
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..Simple Living Media launches today! =-.

  • I can so relate to people saying stupid things. Send me his address if you want me to punch him in the face.
    .-= Anonymouse´s last blog ..bowls of cherries revisisted =-.

  • Gretchen von Lifenut

    Megan and Anonymouse—church people can be the worst with the stupid comments. And yes, I understand the desire to pummel a smirking face. Which isn’t very churchy. But I get it. Grrr.

  • I often think that people say the darndest things when they can’t think of something to say. Rather than saying, “My goodnes, you don’t see many large families anymore, good for you!” they make some half-assed remark.

    I do think that those of us with smaller families wonder about the practical details of everyday life in a large family. Seriously, it is all I can do to deal with my 3 yo and my 1 yo. I really don’t know how I could deal with six, seven, eight kids, or even three. 🙂 That is probably why God has given me two and you more!

    Blessings on this latest addition.
    .-= Kimberly´s last blog ..Winter Babywearing =-.

  • It may be rather efficient to chill the cereal. It may help keep the milk cold a little longer… 😉
    .-= The Casual Perfectionist´s last blog ..I need your opinion! Please take this survey! =-.

  • Congratulations!

    I would love to hear (if you’re open to sharing) your thoughts on family size. What helped you make your decision?
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Alright. So it ended up being two carseats, a booster seat, three suitcases, a garment bag, a diaper bag, a backpack, a purse and five jackets. And three children. =-.

  • I’m glad I’m not the recipient of such comments (yet), because honestly, I don’t know that my punching fist could be restrained!
    .-= Minnesotamom´s last blog ..This is my job. =-.

  • Gretchen, I am so, so happy for you! Knowing you has really opened my eyes to the hurtful things that people can say regarding large families. People really continue to astonish me with the rude things that they have no problem saying out loud.

    Putting that aside, however, I had to laugh at the image of crying Gretchen at the fire drill. 🙂
    .-= Shayne´s last blog ..Final Self-Portrait of 2009 =-.

  • edj

    You know, you get stupid comments about family size. But even with only 3, I used to get them, because mine were so close together. People assumed I hadn’t finished high school or something because I had a toddler and then twins, but they didn’t look like twins, so people thought I’d had 3 in a row. (How that would make a difference I don’t know…)
    It never ceases to amaze me how rude people are to complete (or comparative) strangers! So I’m sorry for the guy’s comment, but glad at the result!
    .-= edj´s last blog ..Boring Everyday Life =-.

  • I was reading an advice columnist last night as I was waiting for Teyla to drift off to sleep; I believe she would call your “friend” a glass bowl.

    I am so sorry there are people like that in the world. But the rest of this post? Comedic perfection. It’s hysterical to me that it takes a few bizarre occurrences before we connect the dots.

  • Congratulaaaaations, Gretchen! I’m so happy for you guys. I don’t know why people say such dumb stuff. Really, when you have a bunch of kids, what’s one more? Is it THAT much of a disruption to your life? I never thought so. Once you have two kids in diapers, what’s two more? Haha!

    I’m new to the whole “goin’ to church” thing. We started going to a new church about a month ago. On Sunday, I was trying to explain Pablo’s situation to the children’s director and he was SO condescending to me! I was trying to tell him how Pablo needed to be accompanied at all times, even if he appears to be doing JUST fine, because he doesn’t have the impulse control of other kids his age, or the fear of danger. He sort of challenged me on that point, saying, “If he’s high functioning, he should do just fine. Just explain to him that the teacher is in charge and he needs to go to her for anything he needs.” Oh, is that all there is to it? Wow! Had I known that, we probably could have skipped the whole IEP/full time para thing at school! All this time, I just need to TELL him to act like a normal kid. How silly of me!

    I’m so glad to hear that there’s another baby on the way for you guys. You have nice kids. You make nice kids. Because you’re nice people.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..National Wear Red Day =-.

  • I doesn’t matter how often we have done it… It still takes a while for the “u, um, I know what this is…” feeling… And once you have that feeling – well you know what you know!!! Not to mention how on earth to tell anyone, especially when most people think you want to despair over it, and actually you are walking on sunshine with joy (well joy and trepidation at another pregnancy!!!) at the little person within. Now folks assume we just have friends tagging along because they can’t all be mine… Actually I love them so I want to carry a big banner above my head saying: “All mine, borrowed for a time, and totally loved.”
    .-= se7en´s last blog ..Sunday Snippet: Three Special Stories – A GiveAway… =-.

  • What a trio of symptoms. And that guy? Tell me he’s not still working in children’s ministry.
    .-= Heth´s last blog ..Peace Like a River =-.

  • This gave me little sparkles up and down my spine.
    For me? My Gee I’m Pregnant Moment is when I find myself EATING A PICKLED EGG. Seriously, I never even have CONSIDERED that not-pregnant.
    .-= Beck´s last blog ..Important Caveat =-.

  • Love this! Love you.

    .-= Adventures In Babywearing´s last blog ..This is it. =-.

  • Good for you….you didn’t slink away without saying something, but you didn’t wallop him in the face with your purse either. Hopefully he’ll keep his stupid remarks to himself next time. But you might want to keep some heavy stuff in your purse just in case…. 🙂

    Funny and amazing how you figured out you were pregnant!
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Snowmageddon 2010 =-.

  • I cannot believe that someone would say those kinds of things to you about your children. How terrible!

    But how wonderful that you’re experiencing such a wonderful thing! Hope you’re doing well and feeling as well as can be expected!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Yes…Yes… =-.

  • Gretchen (the other one)

    First of all, Congratulations!!!!! I sure hope everything goes smoothly with this new baby.

    Secondly, ROFL at the image of you crying during a fire drill.

    Thirdly, I find that it makes no difference if the commenters are in church or the grocery store (or most recently for me, in the dentist’s waiting room), people say dumb stuff. And if you ask me, they mean it, even if they try to claim they are joking. They seem to think if they can’t handle it, no one should be able to. Do they ask politicians when they are going to stop running for higher office? Do they ask CEOs when they are going to stop trying to make more money? Also stuff they couldn’t do, but those things are acceptable in our society. Somehow watching parents raise more than 2 or 3 kids is not. Urgh.

    Fourth, I am horribly jealous, I admit, that you have now passed me up! I was running one child ahead until Archie came along, and now I am falling behind. My husband has succumbed to the comments from work and church “friends” and so 7 is probably it for us. I long for that feeling of excitement from knowing that a new little life is starting inside. Whether the first or the seventh or eighth, it is still the same joy and happiness. Congratulations again!

  • Carol

    Congratulations Gretchen! God’s timing is always good, no matter what anyone else says.

  • Love it. Understand it. Have lived it. Wouldn’t mind living it again.
    .-= jenni´s last blog ..Top Ten Tuesday: The Nostalgia Edition =-.

  • LET ME AT HIM! Gretchen, I so admire you. Hang in there. We are all pulling for your family!!!!

  • Rachael

    I’m still so thrilled for you. This time last year I was at about the same stage of pregnancy as you are now. I got my positive test on the 17th of Dec and my wee man is now 5.5 months old!

  • I can totally sympathize with not feeling excited about a pregnancy. And why do people feel the need to comment on the number of children other people have? Hope you are feeling better now and avoid all chilled cereal.

  • Joy

    Many congratulations! Wishing you a happy, comfortable pregnancy!
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Sweet David! =-.

  • Oh, we ARE pregnant at the same time! Congratulations to you. I cry at things like that fire drill you described all the time There is something about watching a group of little children singing together or otherwise acting grown-up that gets me and I am SO GLAD to see I am not the only one. The tears may not actually squirt out when I’m not pregnant, but I can feel them there. I’ve been writing a post just like this in my head, by the way, since I found out I was pregnant. The things that made me buy a double pack of First Response were similarly funny.

  • Loved your post! Entertaining and heart felt! I’m sorry that guy made a rude comment to you — people can be so stupid. Congratulations on your sweet gift!

  • I love this story!

    My favorite: “Do you know what causes that?” (I always want to answer, “Yep. And we’re really good at it.”) 😉
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Lost Recap: What Kate Does =-.

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