There seems to be a lot of moaning these days about every day “hardships”. Especially by moms of all walks of life. Being a mom is definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of spine! But neither is it a commitment to a life of unreasonable hardship. Grownups sort of sign up for hardship when they leave their parents' well feathered nest and set off on their own adventure! So why all the whining! Face Book is full of the pitiful whining of those who see their lives as so lacking in any luxury, or so very insufficient in romance, or whatever!
I have been convicted of too much whining on my own part! When I am tempted to really get into that pity party mode though, all I need to do is to think back to my Grandmother. This woman raised eleven kids on a sharecropper's “budget”. I use the word loosely - this was a joke to budgets! The woman lived in a shack that was barely habitable! She slept on a straw mattress, for crying out loud! She made all her own quilts! She never had running water, nor a hot water heater. She didn't have electricity, so, no refrigeration! No cook stove you could just turn on. She never had air conditioning, or regular heat that she didn't have to produce. She never had a wash machine, much less a dryer. She had an out house, a wash tub and the nearest water was a spring, that was a quarter mile from her home!
She did have the aforementioned children to do some of the running, fetching, and fire building, once they got old enough. But she still did her share of all those things, and most of the cooking. And the chicken she cooked was not boneless and skinless – it still had feathers and a really sharp beak! She didn't have access to store bought clothing. I can't even imagine making overalls for five or six boys and my husband! And dresses for all those girls of varying sizes! Plus my own!
She never had a “baby-sitter”, never got a date night with her husband. She never got a card from him. She never got a box of valentine candy. She never got a bouquet of flowers. She never got any kind of “vacation”. She didn't even get a stay over at a hospital while having the next little one! Yet, I never heard a complaint ever come from her mouth.
She sang while stirring clothes in a vat of boiling water - winter, spring, summer and fall. She sang while washing stacks of dishes after meals, all of which looked like a hard day at Cracker Barrel! She sang softly, while rocking away in her rocker at night, “relaxing” as she did whatever stitching could be done by hand, by the light of an oil lamp! She sang while hitching up the old mule to the wagon, so she could go down to the country store to sell her excess eggs, hand-made quilts, pot-holders, etc. ! And she was rarely without a smile, except in pictures. I still don't know what that was about, but it was some vogue of her day. She was convinced that one should – and could - be proper no matter how poor one was!
THAT was a woman! She was a real Proverbs 31 woman, and my first hero. She had her share of heartache, she was married to a man who disdained woman-kind openly, she lost children to scarlet-fever, and had health issues as she aged, which were never properly addressed. And yet, she never lost the faith, which produced that inner peace that seemed to be her internal bedrock in life.
We in today's world could use a bit of that chutzpah. I have not had a silver-spoon kind of life, but at the lowest I've ever been I have had it ten times easier than my Grandmother! I hope that when I am gone it can be said of me that I was at least grateful for the blessing vouchsafed to me. I hope that when I get to heaven God, and Grandma, will be proud of me – because I chose to shine more than whine!