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An Open Letter to the People Who Feel the Need to Tell Me I Have My Hands Full

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Thank you for feeling the need to reiterate what I already know; I have more children than hands. Indeed, I’m not an octopus, although I continuously attempt to be.

Thank you for confirming my fear — that I’m perceived as a walking train wreck when out in public with my children. Thank you for acknowledging that I clearly don’t have things under control, despite my best attempts to plan otherwise.

Thank you for making me feel small.

I struggle with how to respond to your comment. Do I smile even though your comment doesn’t make me happy? Do I laugh with you (although it really feels like you’re laughing at me)? Do I shrug or nod in agreement with you?

Most of the time I feel the need to provide an explanation; Man plans, and God laughs often comes to mind.

But what you don’t know is my life is so much more full than you realize. What you don’t know is my eldest child can’t be the “helper” you say he must be. You don’t know he’s not just shy or tantrum-ing right now. You don’t know the amount of time I spend at doctors and specialists and hospitals with my hands full. You don’t know my enormous bag is packed with more than just the typical array of diaper bag goodies and that I always need to be aware of my child’s health and viability. You don’t know the sleepless nights of monitoring. You don’t know anything, really.

When I get out of my house on time, it’s an accomplishment. Hell, getting out at all is. Most of the time it’s for a doctor or therapist appointment, but that’s our life right now, and out is out. It’s the little victories that make our life full these days.

I don’t feel the need to comment on how light your load is. Wow, you have your hands free! Maybe you should help me, since I’m clearly encumbered. That would be rude to say, and I’m raising my children to be better than that.

So I say, thank you. My children, in all their unbridled glory and imperfections, are blessings, and yes my life may appear to be more than I can bear right now, but we’ve been blessed with a full one, and for that I couldn’t be more thankful.

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Originally published: March 13, 2015
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