Thursday, April 2, 2009

Am I Lucky?

"How many kids do you have?"

A question that is asked frequently, and one I have often stepped around. By the time we added our fourth, people found my answer more and more surprising. By the time we added, say, our sixth child, the innocent question asker would looked shocked or horrified, and immediately put me into one of two categories--saint or crazy. I would even be met with occasional pity so I finally settled on an answer I loved, "I am the luckiest mom in the whole wide world! I have (fill in appropriate number) children! I love being a mom!"
I was still saying it the day we brought Patrick home from the hospital:

People still thought I was crazy, but at least they could see I was happy! More questions would usually follow, the accuser apparently trying to sort out how a normal looking, English speaking, seemingly educated, middle-class Caucasian woman would choose such a "strange" lifestyle--and feel happy about it! (And I consider our family small compared to some!)

After a momentary, opened mouth pause, the questioner would usually ask, "You mean they're all from the same marriage? How do you do it!? How can you afford it!? So . . . you're Mormon?" And the questions continue on today.

I sometimes wish I could answer "yes" to the last one because then I would have an acceptable reason for my "strange" behavior. Instead, many people, especially men, look at me and declare, "You must be crazy!!!" (Secretly, many women simply think I must have some strange psychological need to be needed.)

Anyhoo, I digress. This post is about luck. Luck in the sense of being blessed.

After Joe died, I didn't use my "pat" answer anymore. I couldn't say, "I'm the luckiest mom in the whole world! I have eight kids!"

A "lucky" mom wouldn't have a child die. I most definitely felt I no longer fell into the category of "lucky."
(I still felt lucky--and hopeful here--with Joe giving Kim some video game lessons early in his chemo regimen)

And then there is the whole other side of that question--how many? If I answer "eight" then I might be asked to give their ages and that gets into the fact that Joe died, which I don't always want to talk about. To answer "seven" feels absolutely horrible. (I did that once, and afterwards I felt like I had left my son out as part of our family.) To answer, "seven on earth and one in heaven," makes the other person feel uncomfortable; unsure what to say. For now, I have settled on the answer of "eight" and just get right into the fact that our oldest is 26 and our youngest is 7. It will always be hard, just like family pictures. The loss of Joe leaves a big hole. Family pictures used to always consist of at least one shot of what was referred to "the police line-up"--kids lined up from oldest to youngest. We don't do that anymore.


That will never change.

But you know what has? I have recently started to use my old answer again.

I can say I am lucky again! It took me a long time to realize it, but I am STILL lucky! I AM blessed. Yes, Joe died, but I was LUCKY to have known him and loved him for twenty-one years! God chose ME to be his mother! I will forever have his gorgeous smile etched in my mind to help me through life until I see him again. So many memories--like Joe looking at Patrick's Poke'mon cards:
I'm lucky because I KNOW I will see Joe again! I'm lucky because I have parents who are Christians who gave me a strong religious foundation.
I know as much as I've ever known anything, that I WILL see my son again! My son is with Jesus! I'm blessed!

I have this sweet, darling, laughing little tease named Vu who has joined our family and added a dimension of love we didn't know possible. What a JOY it is to see him smile everyday! To see the relationship grow between him and Patrick! I'm LUCKY! I'm BLESSED!
I have an awesome hubby who drives me totally crazy with his stubborn, type A personality, but who loves me like I am. He's my best friend, and he's a great dad and provider!
I have children who love one another and watch out for each other.

I have awesome friends and neighbors and relatives and even an awesome MIL:
--I could go on and on.

And to me, that sure sounds like I am one lucky woman!

I am the luckiest mom in the whole wide world! I have eight kids and I love being a mom!


Duda Family said...

Yes, you are one lucky Momma and we are very lucky to have gotten to know you through this miracle of adoption. Blessings - Mary Li

Sally- That Girl! said...

Sweet and touching post lucky mama!!!

Jess and Joe said...

What a beautiful, touching post!

Mrs. Deem said...

I haven't checked up on your posts for awhile...and now I'm wondering why! You are so inspiring. Incredibly lucky and blessed. Thanks for sharing, and living the life you live. By the way, thank you also for the comment about television ;-) I'm hoping they avoid brain damage...