Kathy's New Book:
Life is a Kaleidoscope
Photo: Life is A Kaleidoscope

The Good Life - It's All In How You Look At It

For years they exchanged common pleasantries as they passed each other by. The frazzled looking mother of eight sat on her front porch, keeping a watchful eye on the youngest of her growing brood.

The career woman was usually pressed for time, rushing by on her way to catch a train that would take her to her 9 to 5 job in the business world. The two women barely shared more than a smile and a quick hello, but each had specific thoughts on each other's lifestyle.

The childless career woman felt a little sorry for her neighbor. What a handful, for a mother to have more children than there is time to take care of them, thought the world wise woman. No time for anything but cooking, cleaning and raising a family - with nothing to show for it but paychecks that never stretch far enough, tuition bills that have no end in sight, and a distressed house decorated in greasy handprints smudged on walls. And, let's not forget the washers and dryers whose cycles run 24/7.
Where is the joy in several hungry mouths to feed, while trying to keep up with several different personalities in need?

To Ms. Professional, this mom was a living example of the old woman who lived in a shoe; which made her all the more thankful she had her self-imposed life of luxury. With freedom to spend her time the way she wanted, with no dependents to tie her down, her neat and tidy home stayed just that--neat and tidy. Dinners in front of the TV or at her favorite restaurant were just what her pampered lifestyle offered. Her phone calls never had to be cut short because a hormonal teen-ager suddenly had to make a crisis call to her girlfriend who lived right across the street. She'd wave a quick hello to the ever-expectant mother and knew she had chosen the perfect life.

Now, Mrs. Mom had her own thoughts. She'd watch as Ms. 9 to 5 hurried on her way and she, too, felt a pang of pity. How lonely it must be, she thought, to have no ties to the heartstrings of little ones. How deafening the silence must be without the noise of little voices to keep the music of life flowing along. With no babies to snuggle close to your heart, with no children to cuddle and save from monsters under the bed, with no chocolate kisses from toddlers who squeeze your neck tight and proudly proclaim: "I love you THIS much!!" while stretching out two stubby little hands filled with dandelions--with no teen-agers to bring you to the brink of insanity, only to renew your faith in family as you help them overcome an obstacle and they say: "Thanks mom, I'm glad I listened." A mother looks back at all these treasured memories and wonders how life could ever be fulfilling without them.

Mother Hen watches as the diva of downtown employment is out of sight. She hopes that one day the solitary lady will find more than business suits, a quiet house, and a round trip train ticket, to fill the void of an empty life. Years passed by, the mother's children grew up and the workingwoman retired. The two bumped into each other one day by chance. They began a conversation that would end up surprising both of them. The woman, who long ago chose a career over children, admitted to the, now, gray haired grandma that she always took pity on her, what with all those kids to care for, it sure had to be a chaotic life. The grandmother of 22 gave the woman a sly smile and with a twinkle in her eye replied, "Why, what a strange coincidence, for it was I who always felt sorry for you."

The moral of this story?

The path to greener pastures can often be found in your own backyard when you live your life on your own terms and treasure the benefits of your heart's desires.