I knew it was about to happen again. I could feel eyes staring at me. It’s as if I have this Matrix like ability to predict what will occur within minutes of this feeling.
As I casually picked through the produce at the grocery store with my kids, I felt eyes piercing me. Then, I saw her. The lady, a stranger, behind the potatoes eyeballing us. Summing us up. She was looking at the kids, then at me and again at them. I knew what she was thinking…
Are they all hers? Where did all those kids come from? Where will she put the groceries? Who is this crazy lady? That looks exhausting!
And then it happened, as it always does. Her eyes caught mine. She got a look of smelling something less than pleasant and with one breath reeking of sarcasm, foolishness just came barreling out of her mouth with…
“Better You Than Me”
She calmly strolled off and I remained speechless. This wasn’t my first rodeo with someone who experienced the betrayal of their social filter. I did as I always do, smiled and continued onward with my kids. One of my kids asked what she meant with her comment. Even my child detected the hostility in her voice! Her words kept racing through my mind … better you than me.
First, I can’t even with the level of inappropriateness. However, her words stayed with me for weeks. As I lingered on this event, I came to several realizations about her statement.
Somedays I wish I too could say that. It would be so convenient.
A kid vomiting in the middle of the night … better you than me
The endless piles of laundry waiting for my attention … better you than me
Running errands in 100 degree SC weather with five kids … better you than me
Dealing with a teething baby around the clock … better you than me
Nonstop boo-boo’s and whining and crying … better you than me
Toddler meltdowns because her sock is not ‘working’ … better you than me
Loading all the kids in the car just to pick up one kid across town … better you than me
So yeah, maybe she’s right. I get her point. It probably is better me than her because frankly, I don’t think she could handle it. A big family is not for everyone and it certainly isn’t for the faint. So, while she shook her head in dismay and looked down at my ducklings following behind me in the store, let me tell you what else is better ME than YOU…
The sweet voice of a toddler requesting to ‘cuddle with me’ … better me than you
The many birthdays we get to celebrate throughout the year … better me than you
The pleas from my kids to ‘tuck me in’ at night … better me than you
The excitement I see when my son blocks a soccer ball from going in the goal at a tournament … better me than you
The laughter heard throughout my house … better me than you
The sibling bonds I witness daily … better me than you
You see, lady in the store, your words were hurtful initially. As I pondered them closer, I realized you are right, it is better that I experience this life than you.
You see the work. You see the chaos. You see the craziness. And yes, it is there and it is obvious to see. But it takes more than a quick glance or sudden judgment to see the other side of this life.
I see the work, but it’s worth it. I see the chaos, but it’s short term. I see the craziness that makes me who I am. I see the blessings in all these kids and maybe one day you will too. And maybe you never will and that’s okay. In the meantime, I agree with you when you said ‘Better You Than Me.’