Jenny loved her dolls. She made sure each had a most specific place, clean hands and face, plenty of pretend milk, and a stroll outside now and then. The babies of the bunch never had a diaper change. She was sensible enough to know they were not soiled. Thatís how the little girl was Ė she could step between play and reality with great ease. Her children were only real when she decided they were. The rest of the time, plastic faces gazed as if dazed from the shelf on which she had carefully put them, waiting for the next episode in their make-believe lives. They were patient that way.
As adolescence replaced naÔve childhood, the helpless group of over-stuffed dummies was relegated to the closet. Their presence interfered with her new self image. Itís not that she wanted to throw them away, but she could function better if they werenít always staring from across her new and cooler room. They just didnít fit in anymore.
She made her way through the basic boot camp of life and settled into her mid-twenties fairly unscathed by too much drama or searing pain. A man of great charm and possession claimed Jenny for his bride. She could think of no reason not to forge an alliance with such a handsome and well-turned out fellow. It seemed like the right thing to do. John arrived with his dog, a big galumphing kind of canine with soulful eyes and a desire to please. She decided to make an effort to tolerate Rover. It was of no little importance to her sweet and gentle groom. Jenny wasnít stupid.
The young couple sailed along, each in jobs they loved; then something happened to change the familiar course they had plotted. Jenny became quite sick. The doctor promised she would get over it, in a few months when she delivered twins. He was wrong.
The two rambunctious boys were followed by three girls and one more son. Jenny knew for sure that half a dozen children was six too many. She couldnít put them in the closet or on a shelf. John adored every second around his beautiful babies. Jenny plastered on her perfect-mother smile and played the part, but her heart was not in it. It was not fun. She wanted to go back to the city and wear expensive clothes and make important decisions. She felt she was wasting her life on this loud and often smelly bunch. Life was out of control. She had to escape. One day she simply up and left. There seemed to be no other way.
Though there was a bit of consternation at her sudden absence, in a short while father and offspring settled into a genuinely warm and happy groove. Each child was loved beyond measure--and knew it. Their house was filled with happy laughter and kind support of each other and the father. Jenny wasnít missed.
As time is wont to do, it marched right on in its most predictable way. John reveled in being a grandfather. He built forts and attended tiny tea parties and engaged in endless hugs and giggles with his babiesí babies. Life was so good. One day, there was a phone call. We have a woman who says her name is Jenny. Can you please come? There is no one else to send for.
Having hearts of tenderness and forgiveness, they all piled in and rode to the well-kept grounds of a fancy hospital-like place. The door to Jennyís room was ajar but she could not be seen. The doctor said the patient would not come out of her closet. Sure enough, there she sat, on a lower shelf, staring at them, but not seeing what she saw. They did not recognize her. She did not seem real.
Jenny lost her mind, and then her life.
Perhaps in the end, it is more prudent to seek wisdom on these serious issues, like whether to relocate to the motherhood. For most women, it is a place of infinite joy, even in the not-so-good times. For others, it feels strange and uncomfortable to move to that permanent maternal area of life. The mom shoes just donít fit.
The moral of this story: All females are not necessarily parent-material. Giving birth does not a mother make. And most of all, CHILDREN ARE NOT DOLLS.
*based on observation of more than one sad and true example
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