Monday, September 19, 2011

No pain. No gain.

Today I went a bit out of my comfort zone and took my four little ones (Ella -6, Logan-4, Tessa-2, and Henry-1 in 6 days!) to an apple orchard to join Logan's preschool class for a field trip.

It went surprisingly well.

No one got lost, hurt another child, or had a major meltdown...

well, Henry had a little meltdown, but that can once again be attributed to his poop/gas issues so I will not blame him personally ;-)

We picked apples and drank freshly pressed cider and learned about bees and ran through a hay-bale maze and fed goats and enjoyed all the pumpkins.

And then, because I am a sucker for homemade goodies (whether I or someone else makes them is irrelevant), we went inside to the shop to buy caramel apples and cider and homemade fudge.

The fudge lady admired the baby and I gave my standard reply, "Thanks! He just came home from Ukraine!" and then she saw my other 3 in the cart and gave the standard reply of  "My! You must have your hands full with 4!" and I gave standard reply Number 2 which is, "Well, I have 7 total, some are at school."

She stopped cold.

And her next reply was something I never have experienced before and never wish to again.

She said, "I had 11. And I wish I hadn't. There is too much pain. I told all my children not to have so many. You should not have any more."

I was speechless. There is no standard reply to that.

She looked broken. She looked at me with pity.

I wanted to say, "But to miss the pain, I would have to miss the JOY of my more than 2.3 children!! I know that much pain is coming with my sweet baby with special needs, but SO MUCH GOOD is coming too!! God strengthens us through the tough times and makes the good times even sweeter!!"

But my children were getting antsy and so I took my fudge and wished her a good day and then drove home.

And thought about the exchange all the hour-long ride back.

Sure, having children can bring physical and emotional and spiritual pain to their parents.

Lots of things that are worthwhile can cause pain.

Going to law school.

Running a marathon.

The risk of falling in love.

Picking up the poorest of the poor off the streets of Calcutta ("Mother Teresa, maybe you should do something a bit less taxing with your will be too painful to you and your fellow nuns to minister to the sick and orphaned and dying...")

So should we avoid all of these because of the chance of pain???

I think not.

Please join me today praying for the fudge lady and all those who refuse to risk the pain to do the good they know deep in their hearts that they should do.


  1. Prayers on going to the fudge lady. Its sad that the heartbreak is what is in the forefront for her. But your right, without the pain, you can't experience the good. Big Hugs!

  2. My gosh, how terribly sad! I will pray for her!

  3. So sad....As I enjoy every min of my screaming two year old who is mad I took away the lipstick and will not let her have a sucker.

  4. What a sad story. One has to wonder what exactly happened with her and her children to think the bad outweighed the good. I pray she finds peace.

    "Avoid pain" is such a sad manra for directing a life...

  5. She should stick to fudgemaking instead of advice giving. I wouldn't trade any of my kids for all "the painless existence" in the world. I'm sure her philosophy hurts her younger children terribly...perhaps they need our prayers as well.

  6. So sad! I feel bad for Her kids too!

  7. OH MY GOODNESS! Wow, have not run into this one yet. The ladies that have 11 and 12 at Daily Mass usually look so much better than silly me with 4. Be assured that I'm praying for the fudge lady tonight.

  8. Sweet fudge.. bitter lady!! :/

  9. Whoa. I was not expecting that. Wow...not sure what I would have said either.

  10. Hmm. I wonder if she meant the kid's pain. Maybe she feels guilty that she didn't have enough time for her kids or some such thing and the kids resented her. Maybe her kids told her they had a terrible upbringing or something even if she did her best and thought everything was great. My grandma was one of 13 kids and while I never met them my mom talks about my great-grandparents with love. But my grandma was the oldest of 13 and she despised her parents for making her take care of the others, never letting her do anything, being told to 'be the responsible one' etc... Growing up the only siblings who were alive were Grandma the eldest and the youngest. The sisters despised each other, never spoke, and just were mean to each other. Even though she was clearly loved by her parents and she did say she felt loved my grandma also had this bitterness in her. Not saying all families do but some people just aren't able to see the goodness around them. It just didn't jive with what my Mom says about them or even some of the stories or pictures Grandma shared about them. My mother always says how my great-grandpa warned her not to have more than 2 or three kids. So sad. Your encouter made me think how my great-grandparents might have felt given what I know about my grandma. My mother talks about having to sneak out to visit her grandparents so grandma probably did express anger to them.

    Sorry I can never remember my password for Google.

    Heather (single adoptive mom of 3 boys who has been searching for a sole -mate and dreaming of a big family since childhood)

  11. How very sad - but since none of us know the other lady's circumstances, perhaps it would be best to pray for her rather than judge her. Her response - "I HAD eleven" (bbm) - may be telling, as it implies she no longer has eleven living children. Or she may have a child or children who have alienated themselves from the rest of the family, or children who may be struggling with various serious issues in their own lives, or children who've made poor choices and decisions that have negatively impacted others...the possibilities are endless. So while it's extremely sad that she presently feels as she does, her response sounds to me as if it came from reactive depression and a lot of pain, rather than being a version of "Oh, Lord, why did I have all those kids??!"

    Large families are wonderful for some, not ideal for others, as parents with fewer personal resources of youth, physical and emotional strength, perhaps no nearby extended family to help, and/or fewer financial resources can certainly find themselves struggling to meet the needs of each child in their large families. Time is limited, and some are better at making the best use of it than are others.

    So - prayers, not judgements, for this lady, as well as for your own lovely family, from me.

    Best wishes,
    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from U.

  12. Thanks Susan - you are a compassionate gal. I did not post to "judge" her and indeed, if you look at my last line in the post, I beg prayers for her.

    I did not relate the whole exchange, but suffice to say she was judging ME for adopting a 7th child and when I told her I would welcome any more children God wanted to send me she told me, in no uncertain terms "don't have any more" which I really think was inappropriate and kind of nasty as I was holding my new baby in my arms who the pediatrician I saw on Friday said he would have been dead in 6 months from protein deficiency had we not decided to follow God and "have more"

    So while it is true I do not know her story, I never offered any judgment or advice to her, where she certainly strongly did to me...

    I do continue to pray for her clearly painful situation and I am glad you will pray as well, for her and our family!


  13. My mom still wants to be pain free - I have, too, learned to say to the Lord, "BRING IT ON!!!" because I know His loving arms surround me especially during those times. Will add Fudge Shop lady in with my mom prayer!

  14. Oh, dear, Carla, I never meant to imply that YOU were lacking in compassion for that poor lady! My apologies if my previous post implied this. Clearly her own issues, whatever they may have been, tainted her perception of and reaction to your own family, and caused you distress by her projection of her own issues onto you. It's clear that while you were hurt, you handled this very upsetting incident as gently as you possibly could, and I didn't mean to imply anything else.

    Little Henry is so cute - belated happy birthday wishes to him! He's already beginning to blossom with his wonderful forever family, and I'll anticipate following his progress.

    Very best wishes,
    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE

  15. No worries Susan! Maybe I was still a bit "stung" by the whole exchange...

    Thanks for your good wishes for Henry and all your excellent contributions to the RR board! Glad to have you reading along!

    Blessings, Carla

  16. That's just wild! I wonder what made the pain outweigh the joy for her, and if having those 11 kids was so hard, she had her husband chose to do so. It's almost impossible to have 11 by accident!!!