“Give us the grace – When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, to stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life.” ~ Pope John Paul II, from a homily given in 1979
Each year I dream of attending the March for Life, each year it seems my commitment to the culture of life keeps me from going. This year another adoption and birth means we have no vacation time to spare and one mom with six kids in a packed red eye bus just sounds like a disaster. However, our church sent four buses this year. Praise God! My friends certainly have my prayers today.
Instead this morning my march for life was to take six kids to yet another doctor's appointment. I had to do this Friday as well. I know it is a small and meager offering, but loading up all these little ones (especially with the winter weather that has finally arrived), corralling them in a waiting room, keeping them entertained in a tiny exam room, and somehow through the chaos conversing with the doctor can be overwhelming for me. It takes more energy and patience than I have.
It isn't that my children are poorly behaved. In fact, I usually get many comments about how well behaved and helpful they are. I do wish I saw more of that good behavior and helpfulness at home. It's just that we are the center of attention from the moment we arrive. No matter how well behaved or inconspicuous we try to be, as soon as we walk into those waiting rooms all eyes are on us. Then come the endless well-meaning questions that leave me feeling like the bearded lady at the freak show. I muddle through questions, but I struggle with the inevitable responses. The most common of these is, "You must be a saint!" Seriously, what am I supposed to say to that? "You should've seen me twenty minutes ago as I brow beat them all into the car, then you'd never doubt my status as mom-- not saint."
Maybe it is just an over-sensitivity from years of feeling like a side show at the circus, but I think there is more than a curiosity about our family. I think some people convince themselves that I must be somehow different because if I'm just a normal mom like them, it somehow threatens their reasons for not having more children. If I am just as unorganized, impatient, battle-weary, and overwhelmed as they are, perhaps another child isn't as impossible as it sounds. Maybe these aren't even their real reasons for not wanting another child. This makes them uncomfortable and it is just easier to make me seem like the bionic, or maybe just crazy lunatic, mom.
Today, I tried to witness to life by more patiently answering the questions about my family, by showing what a blessing all life is. I know it isn't the same as the support of those dear friends sacrificing sleep, warmth, and convenience by making the trek to DC. It was, however, my calling today. It was a prayer on my part that our country recognize the gravity of the lives lost for mere convenience.