With All Due Respect....

Last night our family was taking  walk around the neighborhood. Spring is finally here! We grilled out for dinner, went for a bike ride and then parked our bikes and took a walk. With the warmer weather, our neighbors are also out and about.

And during our walk we had an interesting conversation with a neighbor we had never met before. I keep replaying it in my head, wishing I would have answered better or responded differently. So, I'll respond now.

As he and Jack talked and he looked at our sweet little family, he turned to me and here's the conversation we had:

Neighbor: "So I guess with this brood you stay at home?"

Me: "Yes sir, I do stay home with these crazy monkeys!"

Neighbor: "Thought so. Otherwise you'd spend $90,000 on child care!"

Me: "Well, it's the best job in the world."

Neighbor: "Hmph. With all due respect young lady...... Your husband is a minister? Well, I'm on the other end of the spectrum."

Me: Blank look on my face as my mind tries to grasp what is the other end of the spectrum from a minister and a mom who loves being a mom. An atheist who hates kids? I don't know.

Neighbor: "I'm a family court judge. I see what happens when no one takes care of the kids they have."

Me: "Oh."

Yep- that was my oh so articulate response. "Oh." The conversation moved onto other topics after that and a minute or two later we continued our walk. I've been replaying the conversation in my head since we walked away. Here's what I wish I had said:

"Oh. Hmm. Well, I am sure you have seen a lot of pain and brokenness. But with all due respect, Your Honor, that doesn't change the fact that I have the best job in the world. I know, I know. You've seen some terrible things as a family court judge- custody battles and abuse and neglect. You've witnessed first hand the broken nature of our fallen world. But that doesn't change the fact that being a mom is the best thing I've ever done. These kids, they're just gifts from God- amazing, valuable, beautiful gifts. I don't feel like I am giving up anything by staying home with them. I don't long for another life without the burden of my children. I love them. I delight in them. Every moment with them is a gift, even the hard ones, even the whining, even the dirty faces, even the cleaning up after them- it's all a gift. I probably don't treasure it like I should. Some days I get cranky. Sometimes I don't see the joy in the moment and I forget to be thankful. But I'm trying. So, with all due respect, when I say I have the best job in the world, well, I really do."

So, trying again today to seize every moment and turn it into thanksgiving. To really live out what I would have said to that neighbor. To treasure the four little gifts with Oreos on their faces and dirty hands and skinned up knees. Because I have the best job in the world.


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