Monday, April 11, 2011
Yesterday I was reminded that I am a rich woman. I don’t mean to brag, but I have wealth beyond measure. I know, this came as a surprise to me too, actually, because looking at the rise and fall of our bank account you’d think it was some graph displaying the trajectory of Colossus at Lagoon. But it’s true. And it took some Chinese women to help me understand what wealth really is.
Being in the supply chain industry, Dan travels to China two to three times a year and meets many interesting people. One particular night around a restaurant table, eating dog lip and poisonous snake soup, a woman asked him about his family. He mentioned that he has five kids. Now when Dan mentions this it is usually greeted with one of two scenarios: 1. They stare at him like he just admitted he has no idea how it happened, or 2. They smile and remind him that he has his “hands full” “Wow, Five kids? That’s a lot of kids.”...Umm, yeah, we get that.
We get it every time we try to feed our two oldest boys, who at their age could kill their own buffalo, skin it, carve it of all its meat, and leave nothing more than a little extra raw hide for vultures to fight over. I knew it when I had two little boys and was pregnant with my third child and a total stranger had the nerve to ask if I knew how babies were made. I played along and replied, “I don’t know, I hear it’s in the water,” only to have him grumble rudely that, “maybe you need to go back to high school if you don’t know.” Gosh, that guy was a chump.
I knew it when I potty trained three boys who thought sinking cheerios was so much fun they wanted to turn and tell me each time they “sunk a ship” in the middle of the stream. I know it’s a lot when I get three report cards that send me to my room crying that I am a bad mom and somebody really should just fire me. I know it now that my oldest has his drivers permit and says, “Oh sorry, I just wasn’t thinking straight” when he forgets to stop at the stop sign. I know it’s a lot when I take them shopping, meaning only to buy some jeans for one kid, and three hundred dollars later leave with two pairs of shoes, four pairs of jeans, two shirts, one dress, a jacket and enough socks for a basketball team, all of which are different sizes, and not one of the items is for me. There are days I could go back to newlywed Becky and tell her to think long and hard about all those kids she is planning to have, and I just might talk her out of it. Thankfully, I can’t do that and so I must buck up and carry on.
You get the picture…so Dan is telling the people about his kids, and an amazing thing happens. They don’t do the typical 1 or 2 “thing.” In fact, they do something that has never been done before (unless you count the time in Spain when the woman asked if she could have one of our babies, or better yet, if I would have one more just for her.) But she was drunk and probably has no recollection of that conversation, so it doesn’t count. With deep admiration, these Chinese women said with longing in their eyes, “You are very rich.” Dan was so surprised he almost spit out his venom soup.
When Dan returned home and shared that story with me, I laughed pretty hard thinking they believe only the rich can have children. HA! But then I had a cool moment with my youngest daughter yesterday that reminded me that I was indeed very rich.
Dan was heading out the door for work. It was early and the kids were still asleep. As the garage door shut I could hear the pounding of tiny feet running down the hall at full speed. Four year-old Macy zipped by me without a word, her little nightgown fluttering in the wind, and went straight for the garage door, where she yanked it open, poked her head out, and yelled, “Goodbye, Dad! Have a great day! I love you!”
At that moment, the words of the Chinese women rang through my mind as they so readily recognized the immense blessing that is ours to have a whole “quiver” full of children. In that precious moment of love and devotion from a four year-old, I was taught that I am truly wealthy beyond words. Beyond measure. Beyond my wildest dreams. And I will never take it for granted again.