Monday, September 18, 2006

Mighty Mothers

I just love it that the Chicago Tribune printed an obiuary for Catherine L. Hafkey Wurl, whose accomplishment in life was raising 12 children. Thank you for the recognition, media! I pasted parts of it below.

Catherine L. Hafkey Wurl: 1930 - 2006
Mother of 12 kept family in line

By Joan Giangrasse Kates
Special to the Tribune
Published September 17, 2006

Nothing was more important than family to Catherine L. Hafkey Wurl, a mother of 12 whose loved ones described her as having "the perfect temperament" to manage a big brood.

"She was the calm amid all the chaos," said her daughter, Cathy Kuehn. "She wasn't a screamer--well, maybe only if she got really mad. But in times of crisis, she's the one we all turned to."

Her sister, Patricia Bronstein, said: "I don't know how she did it, but she always kept her cool. I'd be at her house and one of the kids would hit the other over the head with a hammer. She'd take a quick look and say, `OK, everyone in the car. We're going to the hospital.'"
"I used to laugh, because no matter how much she cleaned, it was never enough," her sister said. "She used to say, `I've got two hands trying to keep this place neat, but there's 24 little hands right behind me making it a mess.'"

Of course, it's also just another story to make me feel totally incompetent and lazy when trying to take care of my own family of one child, and so often falling short of keeping a sanitary home or providing her with engaging activities all day. Sometimes I remind myself that when mothers had it really tough, like pioneer farm wives, they pretty much let the children fend for themselves, or had them helping with all the work. They had to! My old role model, Laura Ingalls Wilder, wrote about her terror in losing track of her toddler while she did farm work in "The First Four Years" (the slimmest and most heartbreaking volume of the "Little House" series).

One spring, Laura is pregnant, and inside bottlefeeding five baby lambs whose mothers wouldn't nurse them. She tries to keep an eye on her 2-year-old, Rose, through the window.

"Once Laura was just in time to see Rose struggle upright in the tub of water that stood under the pump spout; and with water running down her face and from her spread fingers at each side, Rose said without a whimper, 'I want to go to bed.' "

Another time Laura finds the girl in the barn, sitting merrily on the workhorse's side as he lies there. Another time two young horses running loose jump right over the girl's head.

So yeah, I have it easy. But thankfully, Nutmeg has it comparitively easy too.


Unknown said...

and after reading this, i'm STILL worried about babyproofing our house.... what is WRONG with me!!???

Kori said...

Ummm...the same thing that's wrong with all of us, I'm afraid! :)

Notta Wallflower said...

I can't imagine having it rough and I definitely can't imagine having 12 kids. What else would a mother have time for with that many children? There's not even time to go crazy. :-P

Moxie Mom said...

I'm sorry. But if I can't find time to go crazy…I'll go crazy!

I think women like that are the exception and not the rule. We are the rule. Besides, don't most of us have jobs, or school?

I love to quote the mother who has 16 children, Michelle Duggar. She said that when she had 5 kids it was really hard. But after number 6, things got easier.

Right, it's called deligation! Most of us can't even deligate to our husbands!