I am a lover of books. If I have extra money, I want to buy more. I own many books already and there are always more to purchase. I love receiving books that I have ordered in the mail. I am so excited to leaf through the pages, taking a curious glance over the words to see what catches my attention first. With six children you can imagine there is not any time during the day that allows the liberty of unlimited reading time. However, whenever I can steal a moment, I will.
I also love the public library. I especially love that I can borrow many books all at once on many different subjects. Sadly, I have run into the issue of being late in returning books and then suffer the consequences of library fines. Ugh. My children enjoy the library very much as well. We like meandering around the aisles looking at all the possibilities before we make our final selections.
There have been a few incidents recently that have have caught my attention in a different way at the library. Initially I was under the impression that these incidents only occurred when I had all my children in tow. For instance, comments are made about the size of my family and the amount of books we have. Comments at the check out like, “Do all these children belong to you?” And “How on earth did you get all of these children?” “Let’s see how many (while nodding and counting) children are there? SIX! Six children is a lot of work.” My usual response has been to smile and giggle out of sheer shock. When I come to my senses, I try to respond kindly and say something like, “Well, children are a blessing from God.” Or, “The more the merrier.”
This Saturday, I ventured to the library alone. I went alone for two reasons. One, because my children and I were going to be starting a Unit Study on Plants and Gardening and I wanted to be able to collect a bunch of books without answering a bunch of questions…for fear that I may get distracted and then forget what I was after (that happens many times in the course of the day). The second reason I went alone was because I thought surely, no one would have any commentary for me about the size of my family if I were by myself. Ultimately, I was not sure that today was a day in which I would respond in the same kind manner that I usually muster up.
After a long look and lots of help from the librarian (because sadly, none of the books on my resource list were at our public library), I went to the self check out which was wide open to take care of my pile of 26 books. Yes, 26. After knocking the pile over once, the elderly man next to me spoke loudly to his wife, as if he knew me, saying “She’s never going to read all of those books.” Completing my check out, I carefully pulled up my pants.
Oh, friends, this is such an important note about todays experience. I have not had the chance to tell you yet about my pants. This is a slight distraction, but an important detail. you see, it was a glorious, warm spring day and this was the first day I am wearing pants from last summer’s wardrobe and I am a smaller person this year. Without a belt, my pants were coming down a bit. So, you must picture me carrying a pile of 26 books around the library and struggling to keep my pants up. Now that you have that picture, back to the greater story.
While hiking my pants up, I carefully balanced my huge pile of books as I left the library doors. The security guard gave my a funny glance accompanied by a grin, or smirk. I ventured on my way – one arm under all the books with my hand grasping the waistband of my pants and my chin balanced carefully on my library card and receipt while I worked to keep everything in order. A young man saw my struggle and quickly opened the door for me asking, “What are you doing?” A massive gust of air blew past me and I nearly lost the receipt and library card from atop the pile. With my chin securely planted I responded to him with a somewhat clenched jaw, “Oh thank you! I am bringing books home to my kids.” He said, “Wow! How many kids do you got?” Of course I cheerfully said, “Six.” As I exited the final door, another couple passed by and with shock and maybe disgust, one of the two said, “Did you hear that? Six kids!”
I barely made it to the van with my pants on and my dignity in tact. Balancing the tower of books, wedged between my body and my car, I dug into my pocket for the keys. Successfully, I opened the back of my van and dropped the books in as quickly as I could.
Praying a blessing over the people I saw as I was leaving I giggled as I replayed the details in my mind. I reenacted the situation for my husband and my best freind later that day. We all had a good laugh. A part of me feels a hint of sadness as I retell this story, and yet I still see the humor in all that took place on my trip to the library.
If I could, maybe I would go back and ask the people who made comments about what they were thinking…or would I? Maybe I would feel as though I would need to defend having a large family. Maybe I would even feel the need to share my heart for adoption and the children waiting for families. Maybe I wouldn’t do any of these things.
So here I sit, writing and thinking. Thankful to God for my big family. Thankful to him for all he does. For laughter and good times and for the children He has yet to bring into our lives.