It was sometime in July last summer that I was winding my way through the engrossing labyrinth that is Costco, Evie and Audrey riding in the cart, when an elderly woman stopped me by the bottled water. I can’t quite recall the exact conversation, but I remember that she was telling me how wonderful it was that I had two daughters. She continued that although she loved her son very much, she cherished her daughter who stayed close to her even after “leaving the nest”; she (the mom) held that close to her heart. She then noticed my very sizeable baby bump and asked what I was having (“a girl”), then smiled as she said, “You are set for life.” She apologized for rambling on so (not at all!) and then went on her way.
Later that summer when we were at the beach there were two different instances when strangers stopped our family on the warm sand- one couple said they had seen us around and came over to tell us how much they enjoyed watching our girls play. Another lady expressed her joy at hearing I was having another girl (I got baby bump questions often- by then you could tell that wasn’t no beach ball under my swim cover-up), sharing that she had six daughters and another granddaughter on the way.
At work few months ago I stopped to greet a doctor I hadn’t run into in a while and our conversation turned toward my kids; she asked how close in age my girls were and I braced myself as I gave their ages (“3 1/2, 2, 5 mos.”). She didn’t bat an eyelash and then told me that’s about how close in age her children were too. She didn’t know it but her sharing that bit of information meant the world to me.
It can be lonely being so visibly counter-cultural and although I don’t feel I’ve done anything to remotely deserve the gracious encounters mentioned above, I greatly appreciated them. Negative comments about fertility and family size almost seem…commonplace nowadays. From the, “I didn’t think you were going to do that again” to the “Oh no [another girl]!…Well, you can always adopt a boy” with a smattering of awkward conversations in between, I’ve had a decent amount of brash remarks uttered my way and have just started to expect them. But I guess I find it that much more of a blessing when people stop and share a supportive comment.
Because to approach a total stranger and affirm them? I can’t say I’ve ever done that, or at least not in recent memory. I’m so grateful for those souls who are generous with their kind words and heroic enough to offer them to a total stranger. God bless them!