Friday, December 11, 2015

"Have You No Consideration for My Poor Nerves?!"

I love having 5 daughters. However, there can be quite a bit of drama with so much estrogen in close quarters. Several of my long-time favorite books, by coincidence, have families with 4 or 5 daughters. I can relate to many of the characters in the books, including mothers, sisters, and daughters, since I am all those things. Before becoming a wife and mother, I could relate mainly to the young, single characters. I looked at the moms with amusement or admiration, whichever their character seemed to merit. My practice in reading is always to find something in all characters to relate to and to learn from, whether by negative or positive example: what to do and what to avoid. 
Caroline Ingalls of the 'Little House' books is patient, firm, ladylike, gentle, and industrious. Marmie of 'Little Women' is wise, loving, generous, and kind. Mrs. Bennett, the mother of 5 girls in 'Pride and Prejudice', is a comic-tragic figure, painted to be a negative example and usually a trial and an obstacle rather than a help to her daughters. 
Since becoming a mother myself, to my dismay I have not automatically transformed into Caroline or Marmie, but have struggled daily and often disappointed myself and others. I have quite often been the opposite of amused to see in myself reflections of Mrs. Bennett, or even worse, the wicked stepmother from Cinderella. I have had to realize that in real life, we are all a mixture of admirable, laughable, and just plain awful. I'm also still learning that it is only with God's constant help and grace that I can be and become what I want to be and what I am meant to be. 
So, Mrs. Bennett has now become not only more amusing, but more deeply human to me, and a reminder of my minute-by-minute need for my Father's love and help.