Monday, November 10, 2008

Hands Full

Saturday night, after entertaining my in-laws all afternoon, we decided to go out to eat. Now, for me eating out is a social event. When we go out to eat, it is almost always with friends or family. In fact, there's only been a few times lately that we've gone out to eat just the 8 of us. (Pedro moved out last weekend. Oh phooey, I forgot to tell you about that. Maybe other time, ok?)
So, I called Allison, my good friend and neighbor and asked her what she recommended. (She knows all the good kid spots) Kids eat free at Denny's on Saturday nights, she says. It's been years since we've eaten at Denny's and I absolutely love breakfast for dinner, so why not? 2 Kids free per adult. Woo-Hoo!!
Fast forward to the restaurant-- the waitress comes over to take our drink orders and immediately says:
Wow, you guys have your hands full tonight.

I think I hear that comment more than any others. I know a lot of big families are used to hearing, "Wow, you've got your hands full," and that didn't bother me back when we just had kids that looked like us. But that particular night, I didn't want to deal with that comment.
So when the sweet waitress said

Wow, you guys have your hands full tonight.

I think I cracked a weak smile when I said: "Every night. We're really blessed."
She then went on to say how brave we are. I was looking down at my menu when a "That's frustrating" look came over my face.
She didn't miss the expression (subtlety is not my strong suit) and tried to explain that she just meant that most people wouldn't want so many kids and we must be really brave.
She's not doing too well digging out of her hole and I, ungracious as I was feeling, didn't help her either.

As soon as she walked away, a rush of guilt came over me. I wasn't nice and I hate it when I'm not nice. She was trying to compliment us and I was rude.

I apologized as soon as she came back.


Lori in KY said...

Good for you for apologizing, but don't beat yourself up too much. It IS hard to hear the same thing day in and day out. It can be even harder (for me anyway) to understand why people don't "get" why I am so extraordinarily happy with my bunch of kids! It also is a little frustrating that any number of children over 2.5 seems to give license to whomever to make comments about our families and for assumptions to be made as to our motives or sainthood.

Keep your chin up. Hope you enjoyed your breakfast/dinner!

The Herd said...

I am so proud of you for apologizing...but I want to know...what did she say after you did?

I feel your pain though with those's really hard over here when I am told that we have too many people to visit the orphanages as a family. ARGH!!!!! I am building my confidence in my numbers lately though!!

Ginger said...


She apologized again.

Heather said...

I TOTALLY get how frustrating that is. I used to say, "Yep...full of blessings." But now I grab them by the arm, stare into their eyes, smile as big as I can and say, "I know! Can you believe how richly God has blessed us? Children are such a blessing!"

MommaofMany said...

God bless you, Ginger. It is frustrating to hear that over and over, especially when you just want to relax and enjoy your time out.

My kids sometimes try to predict how many times we'll be stopped when you go to the grocery store or on other errands. They've made it a game rather than let it get to them, I guess.

Rachel Marie said...

I was just talking about that comment yesterday with some relatives. I'd love to hear ideas for good, Godly responses to that comment!! I need to come up with something because I hear it all the time and I think a weak smile and nod is not the testimony I want to give!

Ginger said...

That's funny, Heather!
I have a script. When they say: "Your hands are full today," I usually smile real big and say: Every day! I'm really blessed!
Typically that stops them in their tracks. Saturday night, I said the script, but w/o enthusiasm. It doesn't work that way. I sounded irritated (and I was). :(

Ginger said...

I considered what reaction I would get if I leaned over and whispered, "They're adopted!" as if it were I secret I was trying to keep from the kids. Maybe I could add, "They don't know they're not white!" in the same secretive manner.
What do you think?

MommaofMany said...

I posted a fuller explanation of how I deal with this type of thing on my blog, as my "Helping Growing Families" post.

Janelle said...

I had this happen to me at the hospital a couple weeks ago. Being an interracial family is always interesting when you go out. The nurse asked if we'd adopted and told me how wonderful we were. I wasn't quite sure how to break the news that they were all mine (biologically), oh well, lol.

Jody said...

Where'd Pedro go?! You can't leave a girl hangin' like that!

Tanica said...

I too hear that comment a lot and I've only got 4. It gets very old. Maybe, Ginger, if you looked innocently at the commenter and said with a puzzled smile, "Really??" As though you hadn't considered your children to be a handful... I think I'm going to try Heather's method, too.

Heather said...

Confession time: I want to just tell people to bug off, but recently the birth grandmother of one of my foster sons was with me at the zoo and she took a different perspective on it. She said, "Do people stop you like this all the time?" I said, "Yeah, all the live long day." She said, "Oh, you have SUCH an opportunity to share God's love with people because your family stands out!" Ooops! I hadn't thought about it as an opportunity before that, but I am trying to change my perspective now.