Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sellout (05/26/11)
TITLE: Cause Traitors
By Marlene Bonney
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“With God’s help, I can do this,” became her daily mantra.
As an avid women’s “lib-ber”, Julia Mason was a charter member of the Charleston’s prestigious “Ladies For Liberty League”. She voted for a woman’s right-to-choose on the abortion issue, picketed for equal pay for equal work, and advocated for every women’s rights groups that was within her power. Heretofore, she had touted the need for mothers to have an identity outside of caring for their husbands, children and homes. She certainly was NOT going to become a housewife (the term itself made her shudder) like her mother, a drudge who had never fulfilled her inner self’s destiny or potential and had given up a possible career to nurture and serve her demanding husband, children, and eventually, grandchildren.
“Such a loss! My mother was beautiful and talented and could have been so many different things had she not chosen to bury herself to be at the beck and call of her family.”
Then, Julia herself became pregnant, giving birth to a precious baby girl, whom she and her husband named Alexis Bethany. The wonder of nurturing and loving such a miraculous, helpless infant satisfied a deep longing within Julia’s heart even while her maternity leave was rapidly coming to a close. Suddenly, the nanny she had arranged to care for the baby seemed lacking and the thought of placing the newborn in a day-care setting with strangers became distasteful and frightening. Her mother was already caring for Julia’s sister’s children and stretched too thin to take on another. On and on she wrestled with her options, eliminating them one by one, until she finally admitted she could not giver her precious infant for others to nurture and raise. She loved her too much and she felt an unexpected, almost fierce and awesome responsibility for Alexis’ welfare.
“I never thought I would want to give up my career for such as this, but I just have to.”
Living not so very far away was Angela, a young mother of four, who spent 24/7 hours a day caring for her offspring and her home. She was becoming restless and unfulfilled in her role. She was tired of pinching pennies and being stuck inside for days on end while her husband took their only vehicle to and from work. There wasn’t enough money after feeding and clothing the children for the “extras” of programs, activities, sports and other electives that were unreachable on their single income budget. She home-schooled their kids, which was becoming increasingly time-consuming and demanding. She grew restless and longed for a life outside of housework and childrearing, envying her working friends who were making megabucks and lavishing their children with designer clothing, expensive play-dates and the sports, music and dance lessons she could not provide for her family.
Angela was a Moms-At-Home activist and a leader of support groups in her community and this position had become insupportable over the past couple of years as her belief system changed. She resigned from supportive mother’s organizations and joined the ranks of professionals in the workplace, hiring babysitters and housekeepers to cover her absence at home.
Julia and Angela’s paths crossed a few years later at a Parent-Teacher Conference where their children attended the same school. Julia’s daughter, Alexis, had been recommended to tutor Angela’s four children who were struggling academically. Angela subsequently offered to pay for dance and music lessons for Alexis in return for her services.
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