A late Mother's Day story

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By Ken Begley

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.

- William Makepeace Thackeray

Being a parent is a tough and frightening job at times.  But being a mother is always twice as hard as being a dad.

Listen to my story.

Before I married Cindy, we talked about many things.  Most was about our future together and what we wanted from life.  I came from a big family and I wanted a big family.  You know, that’s not a very popular choice these days.

We all know why.

You never know with kids.  

They take up all your time and leave you with nothing for yourself.  They can be eternally grateful for the sacrifices you make, or care less.  They can cause you to work endless hours in overtime or take on second jobs.  They drain your bank account and load you up with debt.  They can keep you young or make you old before your time.  They can make you proud or break your heart.  

In the end, they may love you or they may not.

So, it’s easier to just not have them.

A husband can keep his heart open to the will of God, but it’s a mother that makes the ultimate sacrifice using her body to bring the baby forth.  They live each day for nine months with two hearts beating together as one.  

What an incredible and frightening gift from God.

It was when we had our fourth child, Jenny, that things went wrong.  It appeared that she would be born, if she made it at all, with terrible heart defects.  

Abortion was suggested as a way to avoid all the unhappiness and grief that we were staring at.

But Cindy stood firm against this way out.  Together, we accepted whatever God’s will would be.

It was still a terrifying moment in our marriage.

We prayed.

Our children prayed.

Many, many good people who cared for us prayed.

One was a deeply religious fellow I knew from work.  Still, he always felt our views of having so many children as unrealistic.  But he kept us close in his heart during this period.

The prayers were heard.

Our miracle was an unexplainable and gradual healing of our baby’s heart while in the womb.

Jenny was born healthy.  Later, we were blessed for her to have the most radiant and cheerful outlook on life of all my children.  She rarely has a down day.

Jenny was our fourth child.

The religious fellow told me one day how happy he was that everything turned out OK for us.  Then, with a smile, he said, “I guess you’ll be rethinking that idea of having all the children that God will send.”

I knew what he meant.

“You’ve got four children, and all are healthy.  Why take anymore risks?  You might not be so lucky in the future.  Better to stop now.”

But for someone so religious, he missed the point of what happened.

We weren’t “lucky”, we were “blessed”.

I told him, “We’re still open to God’s will.”

Cindy must not have felt “lucky” either.  We had one more baby, our youngest, Belle, before age and health shut things down.

That religious fellow retired last September.  

We had known each other for 15 years.  Our department had a final get-together with him before he left the factory.  It was there he told what he most remembered about each of us over the years.

When he got to me he said, “I still remember when I was interviewing Ken to come into accounting, and I asked him what his goal in life was.  I thought he would say to be an accounting supervisor or department head.  To this day he gave the craziest answer I ever hear.  He said he wanted to have as many kids as he possibly could. “

He laughed for a second and then looked over at me and said, “It looks like he got what he wanted.”

But I knew that I got what Cindy wanted, as well.  That’s how I think both of us would like to be remembered.

So, it’s time to end this.

To my kids, you are the light of my life.

But to Cindy, you are the sun.

I love you, babe.