Saturday, August 04, 2007

That's all right, Mama

Two different sides to the coin here.

I was reading about Michelle Duggar yesterday...she's the mother of 17 children. You may have heard of her. She's been on TV many times, as one of the networks seems to enjoy airing the story of the birth of number 15.

Michelle's story is always met by different opinions. One of my co-workers always gripes about children anyway, & she's not the least sympathetic. I often read a blog by a mother of 11, & she's talking about it too. Her reaction is more like mine: God bless them!

On the totally opposite end of the field from Michelle Duggar and sweet baby number 17, are those women who, for whatever reason, do not bear children. I do know a few of those, some who are childless by choice, & others who didn't choose to be that way, but have chosen to accept their lives as they are.

In a little while I am going to a funeral for a lady who did not have any children. I do not know if this was her plan, because I never asked; I figured it wasn't any of my business. I do know that she was a young woman in the 1960's when there weren't as many medical options for those who didn't conceive easily. For whatever reason, by her choice or not, she didn't have children, & in her late 20's or early 30's sometime, she went to college and became a teacher.

In this role, she influenced many, many children in this area, including my sister-in-law, who was enthralled on a daily basis watching her teacher re-apply her lipstick after lunch. Mrs. Opal was a sharp dresser, too. When I last saw her at church a month or so ago, her appearance belied the fact that she was a very, very sick lady. Her suffering is over now, she has gone Home. Her husband and the many friends and relatives whose lives she touched mourn her passing.

In the Laura Ingalls Wilder book I've been reading, one of the timeless articles deals with not understanding people and how that can be dangerous. She tells of a neighbor lady whose actions were odd in the eyes of the community. When visitors came, they were appalled at the unkempt condition of her home. Whispers flew around town about how the lazy woman frittered away her days while her young daughter spent her after-school hours doing all the work. (In that time most women didn't work outside the home, and so homes were EXPECTED to be spotless. It was sort of a competition between the ladies back then, who could get the housework done quickest.) The story goes that the real reason Mrs. Brown wasn't keeping up with her housework was because she'd been writing for newspapers so that she could afford winter clothes for the little girl. Both were perfectly happy with the situation, & had never bothered to share their motives with anyone outside the family.

I think this is an important lesson for all of us.

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