Better than private lessons

I refuse to feel guilty because I can't give my family everything some people think I should. The photographer tells me that someday I'll regret not having all these beautiful prints of my children . . . someday when they're grown and have children of their own. Yes, probably I will . . . but I'll regret it more if I don't have money for groceries this week . . . or if the gas company shuts off the gas and we sit in a freezing house . . . but to tell him that is too great a price for my pride. Instead I let him think I'm just an uncaring mother who doesn't want the pictures.

And there's the YMCA. . . . ``What do you mean you can't send Jimmy to basketball camp this year? It's only $150 and Jimmy has great potential as a guard . . . if you'll only let him play.''

And Susie. . . . ``Well, Susie certainly has a talent for gymnastics. She should be taking private lessons at least twice a week if she's ever going to develop those natural abilities to their fullest potential.'' Of course, it's $8 a session and at twice a week, that's $832 a year . . . not counting gas to get her there and back.

And I can't forget the insurance men because they never forget me. They never seem to tire of pointing out that we don't carry the amount of life insurance they consider sufficient for a family of 10. They are right. According to the charts we certainly don't. But frankly I'm tired of their trying to make me feel guilty about it. You see, I'd like to have $100,000 or $200,000 of life insurance on my husband and me to secure my family's future in a crisis, but I can't seem to find a company that will give me this kind of coverage without my paying their premiums. And the fact remains that right now I can't pay those premiums.

Last, I refuse to feel guilty for having eight children -- probably about six more than I can ``afford'' according to others' standards. None of our children was an ``accident.'' We chose to have each in our family after a great deal of thought and prayer. Yes, there are many things I cannot give my children. But five of those children had no family until we adopted them into ours!

As for our birth children, the best ``thing'' we ever gave them was the opportunity to share their lives with their brothers and sisters . . . whether by birth or adoption. They all now have a unique viewpoint that only living with each brother or sister can give them . . . a viewpoint we hope will more than make up for all the material things we may never be able to give them.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not asking for help . . . or even understanding of why we are choosing to live our lives as we are. Maybe I would give my children more things if I could, but I can't right now . . . and I'm doing the best I can with what I have.

So . . . all I ask is that people stop trying to make me feel guilty because I can't give my family everything they think my family should have.

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