What's a mother to do? When her first born babe dies at birth... When her kid swallows bleach... or overdoses on aspirin? When her 9 year old son has an ulcer, her little girl goes down to the river and falls into the water?
In that last case, she takes a branch from the willow tree and whups her wet kid on the back of the legs all the way down the middle of the street... all the way home.
What's a mother to do, when her kids steal apples from the farmer's orchard? Or flowers from the next door neighbor's garden or items from the five and dime store? She makes the child return the stolen goods, admit the crime in shame and apologize. That one really works well because of the humiliation factor. The lesson in honesty needs no willow whip.
What's a mother to do when her children inherit the same disease she has? At first she denies the possibility until it is so obvious it can no longer be ignored. She irrationally blames herself for passing this disease on to her children. She carries her guilt like a heavy sack of coal on her back, especially because they suffer pain and social stigma because of it. How could she have prevented this from happening? Not having any kids? There was no birth control back in those days. Though the children know she is not to blame, she carries that shame the whole of her life, no matter how much they reassure her.
Oh, this is not one of those lovely overdone tributes to Mother's Day. Is it? What Hallmark card would sell such a message?
What can those children do when they grow up, but look back on their childhoods and understand the value through having children of their own and see just how challenging it is to raise a child. They can only look back in wonder and awe when they realize mother had so many children to take care of. How had she managed? How had she kept the house clean, the laundry done? How did she have energy to cook meals and welcome her husband home? How did she do all that and still work part-time labor intensive jobs over the years?
She said, "You will always be my children, no matter how old you are. When, I'm 80 and you're in your fifties, you will still be my children. I shall worry about you, pray for you, hope the best for you and love you forever."