I get up from the table and take Matthew outside to the relative quiet of the parking lot. He quickly quiets down as I begin to bounce him around on my shoulders and play with him.
Several people walk by and smile at Matthew. One gentleman walks up to me and says, "That's what you get for a few minutes of fun with a strange woman!" Having been distracted by Matthew's screaming, I am unable to come back at this grumpy, old man with a witty comment. I just stare at him with an expression of confusion laced with disdain.
As the weeks go by I continue to replay his comment over and over again in my head. I wonder what exactly he meant by his statement, and I think of dozens of clever, sarcastic comments that I wish I could have uttered in that moment. All of this pales in comparison to two thoughts that replay over and over again as I think of Matthew; "I definitely took no personal pleasure in his conception. If anything, this moment has cost me a great deal." The second thought is, "I would trade infinite moments of personal discomfort and inconvenience for this little man."
Yes, having such a large family is hard. Yes, working through severe trauma with children is a difficult process that is very taxing on all involved. Yes, having children who are often misunderstood by others is challenging. I wouldn't change any of this for the world let alone thirty minutes of peace and quiet at the dinner table.
Our culture has started to view children as an inconvenience that must be endured rather than a blessing from the Lord. I love having the opportunity to take care of these children. I actually don't mind the fact that our crew is silly and loud in public. I love the crazy dance parties. Most of all, I love seeing how our kids have grown emotionally and spiritually.
My life may not be normal when compared to the life of the typical American, but I am overjoyed by the path that the Lord has allowed us to walk down. Matthew may not have entered my life with a few minutes of fun, but seeing him grow and learn brings a lifetime of joy.