As you probably already know about me, I write a lot of letters. Some of the people that I write to are single men. NO, not that kind of letter writing! Sheeesh. These are just guys who actually like to put pen to paper and I appreciate that. I write to them and we talk about all kinds of things. One topic I've asked them about is marriage and family. As a person who cannot fathom going through life without either one, I am curious about those people who make the decision to not marry or have children.
I've been amazed at what I've heard from these people. It doesn't seem to be a case of they didn't find the right person or they almost married and something went terribly wrong. Instead, these men have deeply cynical viewpoints about what marriage is. One wrote, "I don't want to live a life of someone telling me what I can do and say. I don't want to get permission to make a decision." Another stated, "I hear about all the stress and anger that comes in marriage and trying to raise children, and I am grateful I never had to deal with that." Apparently their role models for marriage must have been pretty lousy.
Maybe it was parents, Maybe it was neighbors or friends, or more likely, some of the couples you see on television. Fortunately, both Joseph and I have had great role models for marriage. Both of our parents were married for more than 50 years. Perfect marriages? Hardly. No such animal, methinks. But strong ones with lots of love.
If I could do my life all over again, I would certainly make some changes. I'd spend more time with this person, less with this one. Study less and travel more. Worry less and celebrate more. But there are a couple things I wouldn't change at all. I wouldn't change who I married (although wish we had met earlier) and I wouldn't change having four children. I might have done everything I could to hold on to the oldest one, in hindsight, but I wouldn't give up the years I had with her for anything. And the other three? I cherish every day. They are all blessings. I feel sorry for those lonely guys that they don't know how it feels to have someone who loves them put their arms around them and reassure them that everything will work out fine. A child's hand in theirs. A close bond of years. A whispered "I love you" in the dark. A child's voice on the phone calling you "Mom" (or "Dad"). An internal knowing that part of you goes on forever.So, on Mother's Day, I will be grateful for my own mom (pictured here, and man, would she be upset that I put her picture online when her hair and makeup wasn't perfect. . . but this is how I remember her), my mother in law, my friends who are moms, my children and my husband. Live alone? Please--no. Never. I'm the blessed one.