We live in a small community.  It’s small enough that everytime I go anywhere I see someone I know.  Including the time I was buying a pregnancy test when I thought (and I was right) I might be pregnant with my twins.  Not the most ideal time for a “HI!  How are YOU?  What’s new?” conversation.  This is neither bad not good, it’s just the way it is.

However, our family seems to be more memorable than most.  There are a myriad of reasons why, but the most likely reason is that we are a large, and unusual group.  We have five children.  This is a large family in today’s society, yes, but not a HUGE one.  But it’s more than 2.5 children, so people take notice of us for that.  We also have a profoundly disabled child who goes everywhere with us, and whom most people in the community have witnessed going off at one time or another.  It seems like everyone knows Sawyer… but Sawyer does not know everyone!  People say hi to him all the time and (being autistic) he ignores them, or he might say hi if prompted.  But he doesn’t chat with them, he doesn’t introduce me to them, so I am left wondering how they know my son, with no time to actually talk to them and ask about it.  Our family also includes gifted children, a few odd ducks that march to different drummers,  AND a set of twins, so  we don’t just have a LOT of kids, they are unusual to boot.

Yes, we are a walking spectacle.

Case in point.  A few Saturday’s ago, our family made the completely insane decision to take a family bike ride to the park (1.5 miles away from our home).  Our oldest child only came with us because she was on restriction and thus not allowed to talk on the phone or go to a friend’s house, and because we guilted her into it… but my point is, all seven of us decided to go.  My husband rode Sawyer’s bike (it is a big tricycle with a huge basket in the back of it) and Sawyer rode in the basket.  He loves this and he’s not a good enough bike rider to actually go on the roads yet.  (Yes, he has a helmet).  The rest of us all rode our own bikes.

It took us almost an  hour and a half to get to the park and back.

Remember, this was only 3 miles.

It was the bike ride from hell, my friends.  One of my twins is Mario Andretti and kept zipping around and crashing.  The other one is Grandma Moses.  She rides her bike so sloooowwwly that I am not sure how she manages to stay upright.  She resists all efforts to get her to speed up, and I can already imagine her as the little old lady in the slow lane going 25 on the highway and harumphing as all the “hooligans” speed past her honking their horns.

Anyway, we were riding down the highway (in the bike lane) and trying to keep both Mario and Grandma in sight and within a quarter mile of each other.  And it was hot and every couple minutes someone  would need to stop and get a sip of water, or a fight would break out, or there would be a problem with the trike (really hard to steer, only has one speed, and a ninety pound child in the back… NOT ideal…).  My husband kept saying “Wheeeee!” and I was not appreciating his sarcasm, and, and, and…  I kept flashing back to that Brady Bunch episode where the entire clan rides down the road in a perfect line with Alice at the end in training wheels.  That was SO not us.  We were not in a perfect row, we were all over the place and we had to keep making the little kids get off of their bikes and walk them across the roads (we live beside some extremely busy roads).   It was a forced deathmarch and the only one having fun was Sawyer.

But, we did, eventually, make it to the park and back into the blessed air conditioning.  Sawyer was the best one of the bunch.  He rode in the back without complaint with a big grin on his face the entire time and he wanted to do it again the next day.  (My husband and I have vowed to never do it again if we can possibly help it).

But back to my original point.  The next day I heard from at least 10 people raving about our family bike ride.  They had spotted us riding down the highway and rather than seeing the chaos and craziness that was happening, they saw a large family spending quality time together.  And they watched it all through rose colored, family-fun-filled glasses.

I’m thinking that our sainthood is virtually a lock.  Ahem.

All we wanted to do was take a bike ride to the park and back as a family.  I didn’t want to be an object lesson, I wasn’t expecting anyone to pay any attention to us at all, and it’s kind of unnerving to be noticed like that.  It must be kind of like what being famous is like.  But, you know, without the money or the fame or the acclaim or the perks, but with plenty of spectacle to go around.

Pass some over here.  I’m all out!

I love our community, but it must be nice to live in a larger city where you can blend in.  Where you can buy some potato chips and icecream in the store without 2 people peering into your cart and telling you, “Wait, I thought you were dieting?”

It must be nice being anonymous…