Monday, June 27, 2011

Surprise Encouragement

The other day we planned a short family outing.  Our close proximity to Ann Arbor gives us the ability to take advantage to many of the interesting festivals that take place during the summer.  On this particular day we were hoping to check out an "Architects of Air" exhibit that promised to be children-friendly (we didn't end up making it, but that is beside the point.).

Downtown Ann Arbor is a lovely place, and because my husband maintained the view that there was no way we would find parking closer, we ended up using a structure several (hundred, or so it felt) blocks away from the exhibit.  Thus, we walked - Dad, very pregnant Mom, four children.  We saw other families, yes...but no more than two children tops, and no pregnant women.  I heard a few people counting, as I often do when we are out together.  A not-so-quiet whisper can carry quite far, so I was reminded to maintain a positive image while marching down the street with my clan.  No one smiled at us.  No one said a word to us.

After a long day of traipsing about the city, we were making our way back to the structure when a man stopped us - probably mid forties, African American.  He stopped us with a huge enthusiastic grin.

"You have a beautiful family.  Wow, you guys are awesome, I just love seeing a big beautiful family like yours.  Are they all yours?  You are amazing!  You ARE the future!  I am just SO HAPPY that I saw you!  It just made my day.  Absolutely beautiful!!!"

And you know what?  Neither J nor I could wipe the grins off our faces after that.  My feet were swollen, my arms aching from carrying tired kids and I was totally ready to throw in the towel on the day, but I suddenly had a fresh spring in my step - and a renewed glow of pride for my family and the hard work we put into it.

It reminded me how very very important it is to encourage people, to cheer them on, to applaud the efforts of those around me.  It can truly make a difference in someone's day...possibly even in their life on a broader scale.  Whether or not we realize it, we all need encouragement - and we all can benefit from it.

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  1. Yay for him! This totally made me cry, sounds like our life too :)

  2. I love big families, too. I hate that mine is smallish. I loved being from a family of 5 and enjoying the benefits of all of that love.

    I have friends who count the kids following a set of parents, and it irks me because they both have 1 and 2 kids. I might count because I love to see those big families.

    Oh and I would totally have more kids (though I'll deny that on my blog) if my hubby was up for it.

  3. by family of 5, I meant 5 kids. And we were one of the smaller families I knew. Most had 6 or more children.

  4. This made me cry too, Lydia. Thank God for such lovely, positive people. It almost seems as though he were sent when you needed him most at the end of a long tiring day.

  5. Oh, God Bless him! My friend and I (each of us with 3 kids) were talking about how rare we were these days. Although....most people we associate with have at least 3 kids - but I think it's because we tend to seek out and bond with those like us. Another mom of 3 understands when I have to suddenly pack up and leave because of....something.
    It irks me when someone sees me with my 3 in the grocery store and says "wow, you're a busy mom I bet." Yes...but honestly, we are all busy. I was busy when I had just 1, and I've been busy every since. Once you pass a certain leve of "busy" just doesn't matter anymore. If I had not turned 40 this year..I would probably have another! (don't tell hubby, ha)
    God Bless you and your family today too. Can't wait to "meet" the newest one....keep giving them something to talk about! LOL

  6. Isn't it awesome how a small amount of encouragement can just make a day?
    I am finding the average two children is not average anymore.

  7. So glad you can walk proudly in the LORD with your lovely (and growing!) family. God has blessed you, and I'm so glad that man took the time to see what others wouldn't.

    And good for you ... taking all the kids on an outing, even while pregnant! I've been thinking of you, wondering how you've been feeling.

  8. Awesome! Sounds like you both needed each other!


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