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Saturday, November 6, 2010

full hands

It's no secrete we have a large family.   Through birth and adoption, God has blessed us rather abundantly.  And it's no secrete that with a large family comes, noise, and chaos, and a lot of demands, and a general overall crazynyness, lots of laughter, supporters at every turn, a hug at every corner, and never having to go through any of it alone.   
I continually run into folks who say, (sometimes flippantly) "You must have your hands full!" 
Maybe in the face of it all, they just don't know what to say.
And it kinda bugged me.  
But then there was a day when literally my hands were full of babies.   
A moment when both babes needed my attention at the very same time. 
We were at the grocery store.   
Tess was on my right hip, protesting to get down.  And Jude was on the left, his head snuggled in the crook of my neck.  Each of my arms, encircled their body, and my hands joined in the front to provide a little support for my back.  A couple other my bigger kiddos were in charge of pushing the carriage or putting in the items i  directed.  Boo was tugging at my sleeve asking if we could get the sugar-coated-crap cereal.  
Patch was trying to "surf" the cart down the isle.
I was trying, probably futilely, to impart a little bit of wisdom to my brood.  How to read nutritional labels.  Adding numbers.  Estimating the cost.  How to use an inside voice.
My back hurt.
I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the whole list before needing to leave.
I had snot all over my shirt and seeing as how I was just going to get a quick errand to the market run, I was wearing stained holey yoga pants with really bad hair. 
You know those days, right?

And a woman, all by herself, probably in her mid 60s and probably passed the age of having to take little ones to the store anymore, passed by, taking us all in.  The hollering, the chaos, the noise and all the people in one family.  And maybe she was one of those people who just felt compelled to say something.  
And then she said it,  My, you sure do have your hands full!  And she passed us by.  
Was she smiling?  I couldn't tell.
I used to not know how to respond.  I mean, did I really have to respond?  It wasn't a question.
And this next part I really can't explain very well.  

But in the middle of all the comotion, there was a sudden peace within me.   A peace that I can only image God wanted me to hear right then and there int he middle of the grocery store, holey yoga pants and all.  
My children.  
Surrounding me.   
My arms so very full... literally.  
You know, after interacting with a orphan that has never known the love of a family first hand, one never looks at a family in quite the same way again.  
My family.
Encompassing me.
It was such a wonderful feeling that God entrusted me with so many of His children.  There was rush in my heart, that I never wanted to forget this very moment. A feeling of gratitude and thankfulness.  A feeling of privilege and honor.  
So I put it in my soul to always remember that feeling of blessed fullness... full hands.  
Now when someone says, "You must have your hands full!" I instantly think of that feeling and smile.  
Yes I do, and it's divine!
I'm noticing that as the babe's get older, now almost 3 1/2, they get bigger and heavier.  Patch is now wearing chocolate scented deodorant and not wanting to hold my hand so much. Boo is out growing his pants at an alarming rate.  Livy is dreaming of mission trips in far off places.  And Sunny is looking at colleges.  
There will soon come a day  when I won't have my hands full anymore , literally or figuratively.   Someday the car ride to the store will be quiet, and I'll pick the station I want to listen to.  No one will be there to tug on my sleeve.  I won't buy sugar-coated-crap, or animal cookies, or juice boxes.  Someday my back won't hurt, and I'll be able to make that errand to the grocery store as quick as a bug.  And I'll probably look really cute too.  And my hands will only push the carriage and carry my list.
My hands will be empty, someday soon.

And I'll cross those now empty hands hands and offer a prayer of thanksgiving, the He allowed me so many divine opportunities to impart my mama wisdom... if every just at grocery store... in holey yoga pants. 

And I will pray that He watch over them for me now.   


  1. That truly was a beautiful post! great pics!

  2. Greata post... it reminds me so much of my mom and all of my siblings but I wouldnt have it any other way. its weird when its quite.

  3. Oh I loved this post and that last photo of all your children - gorgeous kids - all of them!! What a wonderful photo and loved the reminder by reading your post that these sometimes trying days will not last - today while attempting to pack to move our household in 2 weeks to a new house, I felt as if I was taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back while Emma was "helping" me pack. These are precious times for sure and sometimes we lose sight of the big picture.

  4. What a great and wonderful thing God has entrusted you with. To be the mother of so many. Truly an honor.

    Sadly, I wear holey yoga pants and have bad hair days with just ONE : )
    so I would totally say that 'you must have your hands full' line to you. In the back of my head I would be thinking you were a super hero. I probably would not be brave enough to say all of that to you though. LOVE your pictures of your family. What beautiful children they are.

  5. Lovely post; beautiful photos. The time truly does go by to quickly, and the children grow up way too fast!! (My "baby" is 8!!...My oldest, 19!!...And frankly, I wouldn't mind adopting 1 or 2 more kiddos! ;-) )

  6. Love this post! I only have three and I still get that comment, especially when people hear that I'm adopting again. I think it's because I'm single and more than one is just too many for a single mama to have! My response has always been, "It's a full heart that I have."

  7. How beautiful! And so true! Amazing photos.

    Erika B

  8. I have met two new families at our school this year, one has 6 kids and the other 5, there are lots of big families out there, what a blessing! My heart melts when I hear of big families :o)

  9. Can I steal this one for WAGI? Loved it.... :)

  10. Your photos were beautiful! Wow, I love them. Your statement in the end about "my hands will be empty someday soon" made me smile while having tears in my eyes. My husband and I always joke that we wonder if Abeka (the homeschool textbook company I order from) delivers textbooks to the retirement home!! But, on the other hand...I cannot even imagine not have kiddos to make my life crazy! Beautiful post!


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