posted by: gretchen
“I can barely handle my two kids, I don’t know how you do it!”
This is the phrase I most often hear when we are out in public. A close second is the phrase “you have your hands full!” I realize that in this age of convenience our family represents an odd throwback to the days when people had a lot of kids so they could slop the hogs and gather brown eggs from the henhouse.
We don’t have that excuse. Slopping the dog doesn’t take an army and our white eggs are gathered in cartons of 18 from Costco.
So, why do we have all these kids running around? I have often posed this question to myself and to God, and this is the answer I usually receive: because you have so very much to learn.
Like what? I ask.
Like what happened to all of the spoons? comes the answer, sometimes in a whisper, sometimes in a thunderbolt.
I once wrote, on a forum dedicated to moms with “Tons Of Kids,” that one of the surprises I discovered about having a large family is that we never have enough spoons. Most people ask us about paying for college, car insurance, and how many bedrooms we have. They don’t realize the real hardship lies in trying to find a spoon for Sammy’s Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.
When we got married we registered for a lovely Oneida pattern, with the intention it would be ours for life. We received 8 teaspoons and 8 larger non-soup spoons. 16 spoons represented several bowls of cereal, ice cream, and some more bowls of ice cream that could be eaten without having to wash dishes. We faced the future head-on, armed with a sufficient supply of spoons. Or so we thought
Then we were attacked by toddlers who were in the bad habit of toddling right up to the trash can with car keys, remotes, and spoons. Sometimes we caught them trying to throw objects away. Sometimes we didn’t. Our spoon supply began to dwindle over the years until we realized we were handwashing spoons before each meal. We can’t explain what happened to each spoonnot all of them could have been thrown away. Some are probably in the yard, snuck out of the house in a pocket to dig troughs and roads for little cars. Some ( ahem) may have been left in an employee lounge, along with (ahem) Tupperware.
A few months ago we visited the Oneida website, searched through the patterns until we found ours, and ordered more spoons for the kids.
We guard them like precious commodities. We count them, treasure them, and keep tabs on where they are. We do our best to keep them out of the trash.
And the spoons, too.