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Friday, March 2, 2012

It Takes Guts

When I was pregnant with #4, I pulled up to the gas station to fill my car's tank.

The guy, who seemed very nice, after he started the filling process, came to my window and very kindly asked, "Do you have a T.V.?"

"Yes," I replied thinking he was going to tell me about some great show he'd seen or something, "Why?"

"Well, because you've got three rug rats in the back there and one in the oven?  Thought you might just not have a T.V."

This guy kept his kind demeanor as he advised me on how not to have children.  He explained the joys and benefits of vasectomies.  He, in the kindest way possible, told me I was an idiot, took my money and sent me on my way.

Now, I was raised in a house that wasn't without contention, so I can be pretty quick with a comeback when called upon, but in this particular case, I left flabbergasted.  I didn't have a comeback.  I was in shock.  Did this complete stranger really just brow beat me to my face, and I just sat there and TOOK IT?!  So unlike me.

I turned down a couple of streets and the comeback occurred to me, and I was kicking myself for not saying it:  "I'll bet your parents wish they'd've known about all of this before you were born."

I think, looking back, that it was a bit of a tender mercy that I kept my mouth shut that day.


Coming back to present day....

I was talking to a good friend on the phone yesterday.  She shared that she had been listening to a woman on the radio that afternoon.  The woman was expounding the virtues of not having children.  Why in the world would anyone want to have children?  WHAT?!

Is that what we've come to?  What would my life be like without its greatest joys?  What would I be like?

I guess as I ponder this today, I only have one thing to say about it all....

I just hope that my children have the GUTS to live in this society, as a husband and a wife, and have as many children as they want to have, and that they, in this society, have the GUTS to raise their children themselves in their own homes in the best way they know how--that those children will be a benefit to whatever society they live in and that the world will be a better place because they are in it and because they had my children as their parents.

I've been told that by not working outside of the home, I "don't contribute."  Oh puhleeeze!  There's got to be an argument against my staying home and raising my children better than that one.  My sacrifices are my contributions.  This life isn't all about me.  It's about what I sacrifice for the good of others.  That's what makes me who I am.  That's why I'm alive.

When we were in Japan, we saw so few children.  Honestly, when I'd see children, I'd get my camera out.  The birth rate in Japan is 7.31 per 1,000 people, and it's dropping every year.  They are a dying society.

The Japanese culture is astounding.  I would hope that every American would have the chance to experience the Japanese way of life--caring for your family, the sense of community, the caring for others and the sense of honor and putting others before yourself.  We can only hope that those numbers will rise again.

So, this woman on the radio, is this what she wants for us?  Our extinction?

Yes, raising children isn't a walk in the park.  It's more like a climb up a very rocky, treacherous mountain.  I don't know about you, but a walk in the park is nice, but a climb up a mountain is life altering.  As the days go on, it seems like climbing this mountain takes more and more guts.

I honestly wonder what the gas station attendant would think of me now.  So, I guess for now and forever more, my answer will be, "Fill it up with regular, please, and no, I don't own a T.V. (any more)."  I only hope my children will have the guts to do the same.

13 comments:

vaxhacker said...

Very well said! I'm sure at LEAST seven special people are glad you had the guts to stand up for what you believe in and thought they were worth having.

And seriously, how entertaining does HE think TV is?

Julie said...

Thanks for the laugh, Steve, and for the kind words.

Jeanette said...

I've climbed a mountain, and it was the hardest thing I'd ever done physically until I had my baby. I almost didn't make it all the way up, but, man, the view from the top was outstanding!

Kira Rivadeneira said...

You said this so well!
Oh what a sad day for those who have chosen not to have children, when they are older and alone.
I do not know what I would do with out my children. I chose to stop at 3 my husband would have loved to have a large family, I knew I physically nor emotionally could not have a large family. Now, looking back I wonder if I wasn't just being selfish.

Julie said...

Kira, we do what we feel is best in each of our own situations. I just hope my children don't feel bullied by society not to have children. It just seems to be a growing thing in our world. Mothers, children, families....So undervalued.

Julie said...

Jeanette, you totally get what I'm saying here. Climbing a mountain will be something we'll never forget.

Alyson said...

A vegan chef blogger I follow just had her first baby 3 months ago. She does stay home with the baby (he's her job, and what little food blogging in she can get in these days) and she was just posting this morning about how he won't take a bottle anymore and whine, whine, she can't get to the gym like she used to ("The childcare people are used to older kids! They put him in front of the television screen!") and that she knows she needs to start getting him used to being without her, and that she deserves alone time.

I have no useful reply to that. I gave birth to seven babies whom I nursed exclusively. I was tied to them, bound to them, for many months each, unable to go to a gym or on a date with their father or many other things. And I consider it the best choice of my life that I gave that to each of them—I have nothing to regret now, because they were my babies and I was their mother, full time.

I don't understand other peoples' opinions on child raising or childlessness, but at least I concede they're allowed to their own opinions. I don't know why they can't give me, and you, the same courtesy?

Tonya said...

I love your guts, Julie!

I loved reading this post. And I want to be with you if you ever have the guts to actually say that to a gas attendant. And preferably the one who was such an idiot. And I hope all seven of your children are in the back of your beast. And I hope you have a basketball under your shirt just for kicks:)

Wes Whitnah said...

Grace and I attended a dinner hosted by my division manager years ago. We were asked how many children we had, and I answered we had four (at that time). The managers husband asked incredulously, "have you figured out how babies are made?" I blurted out an answer without thinking..."Yes we did. That's why we have four." That shut him up and he didn't talk to us the rest of the night, thankfully. With that attitude I was glad he didn't have children.

Wes Whitnah said...

Love the top of mountains, they draw me to them. My faith and sure belief in God were strengthened at the top of mountains. This is one reason for the choice of High Adventure last year. I wanted those YW to have a life-changing experience getting to and at the top of the mountain. From their comments part of that was realized. Thank you for encouraging so many to take the same challenge in their lives.

Julie said...

Bravo on the high adventure idea, Wes. It was so great for those girls! Such a challenge, and something none of them will ever forget. They'll be able to draw upon that experience for years to come and how they conquered themselves that day. A priceless lesson in this day and age.

The comment "Don't you know how that happens?" is the one I get the most. I've even gotten it from family members. It's annoying and insensitive, and it makes the sayer of it look, in my opinion, really stupid. I have learned to completely disregard those who say it.

It's funny. The negative comments I get are usually when I'm pregnant or have an infant in my arms--the times when I'm, hormonally, the most fragile.

Pondering back on this post, I realized why I was so slow on a comeback....My mom had passed away just months before this. I had #4 nine months after her passing. I must have been reeling from that still. I was on my way to my dad's to spend some time with him when I stopped at the gas station.

A few months ago, a facebook friend made a comment about the Duggars. It was a pretty objective comment, but it was followed by many negative comments from her friends. Having been through what I have, I went against the norm and basically spoke my mind on the subject (imagine that). Needless to say that, for the most part, I wasn't very popular (I'm pretty used to that by now). I did end up saying something about how the whole idea of "diversity" in this world is only meant for certain groups. When it comes to those who have many children, what the world terms "diversity" doesn't apply. The friend who wrote the original comment, seemed to have been offended by what I said, which I thought was interesting when her original comment on the topic seemed so unpointed. I apologized that my comment came out as it did, but what can I say? It's what I feel.

lia london, author and writing coach said...

My jaw is still on the floor. So many things said so well. So sad that people don't see the blessings of children and how they help us grow. I'm totally tweeting this post.

LOVE you, Julie! You've contributed loads to my life!

lia london, author and writing coach said...

Two other thoughts come to me... "Not contributing to society..." There won't BE a society without the next generation. Your extinction comment is so dead on! (**snort** No pun intended, but I'll take it.)

AND we were not sent here to earth to glorify ourselves, but rather to glorify God and become like Him. We can certainly best do that through parenthood and all that it teaches us.

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