A few weeks ago my Uncle passed away. As we all gathered at the wake after the service, one of my cousins noted that it seems the family only gets together nowadays for funerals. It was never like that in the past. Sunday dinners at my grandmother’s house were a monthly event. Sometimes we would spread out in her spacious backyard, but a lot of the dinners were spent packed elbow to elbow like sardines around a huge table set up in her basement. There was never less that 20 of us there at a time, Grandma had 7 children, 4 who married and had families of their own. 12 grandchildren, and there were also a few cousins from Poland that happened to be around as well. This was just my mother’s side of the family. Dad only had one sister, but she had 4 children and dad had 3. 6 of us married and had our own kids. 10 in all.
In this large brood 3 of us girls had unplanned pregnancies. Myself and 2 of my dad’s nieces. When each pregnancy was announced, no one felt anything towards the mom but pure joy. No one thought any less of us. No one told us we should have been ashamed. No one told us we should abort our children. I don’t even think the thought crossed anyone’s mind.
Not only were we accepted as mothers-to-be, but the fathers were accepted into the family as well. (my dad had a bit of a hard time with this, but he came around.) Because of this acceptance, each one of us married the father of our child.
I think that if other women had a family like mine, where encouragement is given rather than judgement and help is given rather than rejection, more women would choose life over abortion. Because of this family, I never thought of my daughter as a burden. I continued to work and my mother helped by taking care of my daughter while I was away. When mom wasn’t available, there were Aunts willing and able to take over. Even my brothers pitched in!
My daughter is 15 now with 2 younger sisters. I’m still married to her dad. The family doesn’t get together as often as we used to, but the love and support are still there. My mother passed away when my oldest was almost 2. Her 3 sisters took over as “grandmas”. Sometimes I wish my daughters could have known their grandmother, but they get all the love and attention that my mother would have shown them from my Aunts.
When one of us is in need, a helping hand is there for us.
When one of us is hurting, a kind word and hug are there for us.
When things seem hopeless, they are there for us.
That’s the power of a loving family.
Until next time, God Bless.