A MOTHER’S CHOICE

Activated - - NEWS - By Re­nee Chang

None of her friends or fam­ily un­der­stands why she has done it, and most of them would like to shake her out of her fool­ish­ness. Their ob­jec­tions make sense. Af­ter all, May is in her mid-for­ties and has been liv­ing alone ever since her daugh­ter moved out. May is also in debt. And yet, here she is, rais­ing her ex-hus­band’s child by an­other woman.

May mar­ried early and was di­vorced by her early twen­ties, but even be­fore that, she had been rais­ing her first child alone, as her ex-hus­band had a drug ad­dic­tion and spent as much time in prison as out.

Then twenty-some years later, he reap­peared out of the blue and asked for a fa­vor. He had fa­thered a new baby with an­other woman, and he wanted May to ar­range for the baby to be taken into an or­phan­age be­fore he went to jail again. Lit­tle Jo­line had been aban­doned by her mother, and it seemed she was des­tined for a child­hood spent in an in­sti­tu­tion.

In­stead of that, May ar­ranged to keep the baby and has been rais­ing her for the past five years. It hasn’t been easy. May is work­ing hard to make ends meet, and Jo­line is a hand­ful. But May is un­de­terred.

“Peo­ple have been telling me what a big bur­den Jo­line is, and how she isn’t worth the sac­ri­fices I make to look af­ter her. But no one ever asks me how I feel or re­ally lis­tens to why I’m do­ing this.

“Af­ter my last failed re­la­tion­ship, I felt I had lost ev­ery­thing to live for and that I’d never have a nor­mal fam­ily. But when I first saw Jo­line’s smile and felt her lit­tle hand clasp one of my fin­gers, I knew then that there was some­one who loved me and needed me. Jo­line is not a bur­den, she’s my source of love and joy.”

Just then, Jo­line came over and placed her arms around May’s neck and kissed her cheeks. “I love you, Mommy. You’re the best in the world!” May’s face lit up as the proud mother she is.

It dawned on me then. May was right, even though oth­ers had mis­judged her. Rather than let­ting life’s mis­for­tunes and strug­gles drag her into a spi­ral of self-pity, she had cho­sen to fo­cus on giv­ing what she still had. And in do­ing so, she also found the hap­pi­ness that had been elud­ing her. Re­nee Chang is a di­rec­tor of a con­sul­tancy com­pany in Tai­wan.

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