On my way to work this morning, Dr. Scott Peck’s comments about love came to mind. In The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Peck says that all love requires courage and work…courage because a person risks rejection, heartache, and perhaps even despair if his or her love is not returned or is little value to another. The work part comes in because of the sacrifices a person has to make in the name of love. I say “has to make” because according to Dr. Peck, if you say that you love someone and yet you do nothing (or very little) for that person, then it’s not love, and there are no exceptions. None.
So how does this relate to motherhood? I see young parents enraptured with the perfect little beings they have brought into this world, and I’m hopeful that things will go well for the little family. And yet, I know from experience that the sweet-smelling, velvet-skinned, adorable infant will soon grow into a busy toddler whose favorite word is “NO.” My grandchildren love to say, “I don’t want to,” when their sweet mother makes a request like picking up their toys or bringing her a diaper to change Baby Emma. A parent turns her head, and the defiant (but cute) toddler is a teenager with opinions, friends, and tastes much different from that of the parents. Teens can break a parent’s heart. Some have even been known to lash out with such statements as “I didn’t ask to be born!” Or even worse, “I hate you!” Does it take courage to have and raise a child? Absolutely!
The work aspect of love is easy to see…and hard to practice at times. Daydreaming about having children doesn’t always match reality. There’s sleep deprivation for starters, a phenomenom that begins when a child enters the world and ends…well, I’m not so sure about that one. There are still nights of insomnia when I find myself vexed or fretting about one of my children. There are always clothes to launder, fold, or press; soccer practices, dance classes, hockey games, and track meets to chaffeur; food purchasing and preparation; activities related to school including homework assistance, meeting with teachers, and actually getting children there; keeping a clean, organized, and spiritual household; and providing for the child’s temporal as well as spiritual needs. Add to this the good old fashioned need for quality time, one-on-one time with each child, and it’s no wonder that mothers are often weary and a bit overwhelmed. Motherhood is WORK.
Dr. Peck was right. Being a mother and loving a child requires both courage and work. Is motherhood worth it? You bet.
A friend and I went to Columbia intending to go on a tour of homes. On the way, however, we got sidetracked by returning an earlier purchase and then doing some unneeded (but fun) shopping. It became imperative that I purchase a green lamp for my guestroom, and she felt the urgent need to buy some butter cream scented candles.
Heading downtown, we got sidetracked and rode through some lovely residential areas and finally arrived at a unique store specializing in originally designed jewelry. What a fun place! We even got to sample chocolate coated strawberries and cheese cake drizzled on pink spoons. Yum. Before leaving, Connie spied a lovely two-strand turquoise and silver necklace with her name on it. In high spirits (was it the cheesecake or the glittering array of jewelry?), we decided to drive farther into the city to a truly unique jewelry store near the university. As I was maneuvering my trusty Camry into the only available parking spot, we saw him…only we couldn’t tell for certain if it was a he or a she. The homeless person was so disheveled that we couldn’t determine the gender for certain. The individual’s clothing appeared lumpy, as if all of his worldly goods, including whatever might have been discovered on a day of walking
Columbia’s downtown streets, were beneath the oversized blue sweatshirt.
Connie and I looked at each other, swallowed hard, and then marched right into the store, perhaps hoping to forget the image that had so disconcerted us. How were we supposed to have fun with that sad sight in our minds? Nevertheless, a few minutes in Handpicked, and our consciences were quiet. Thirty minutes and a few dollars later, the material girls emerged laughing and chatting about what was next on our agenda. Then we saw the person again. This time he was sitting on a bench right outside of the store, his bearded chin resting on his chest as he napped, his hair matted and filthy. We got in the car and discussed the homeless situation in
Columbia…and indeed everywhere. What should we do? What could we do?
Quiet for the first time that day, both of us thinking of what we’d seen, we looked to our right and saw another homeless man standing behind a tree, a bag of possessions at his feet. What can be done? Who are these people? Where are their families? Are they schizophrenics with no medication? Were they once employed in “safe” jobs that somehow ended? Is there no one who loves them?
What are we to do if we truly desire to be good Samaritans?
Welcome to my blog. As a wife, mother, educator, and writer, I’m interested in many things: improving in all of my roles, helping others to enjoy happy, effective lives, nature and its symbiotic relationship with humans, major world religions, diversity, words, health, and chocolate fudge sundaes with plenty of nuts. I’m awed by sunrises and sunsets, my grandchildren’s tiny feet, and starfish…all the wonders of the universe. If there’s a kindred spirit out there who loves families, trees, connections, books, and beaches, please respond.
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