I Have A Say Thanks to My Mom and Dad!!!

Being the oldest of 11, I am so thankful, especially now, for my Mom and Dad saying "yes" to life! Growing up, we never had a ton of money. My Dad was a high school chemistry teacher and my parents decided from the beginning that they wanted to have one of them home with us. My mom gave up her teaching career, and raised me, followed by 10 others! My Mom also taught all 11 of us at home for part of our childhood before we would head off to Nativity Catholic Grade School. My Dad worked long hours, eventually earning other degrees so that he could first become dean, then principal, and finally, when I was a sophomore, he was named Roncalli High School's first president. My Dad and Mom both sacrificed SO MUCH for us.

I remember, even as a young person, getting stared at by people, and I remember the comments they would make. I can still hear a dental receptionist asking my Mom "Are these all yours? You know how children are made right?" followed by a real insidious but ditzy chuckle, followed by a secretarial gum crackle. My Mom and Dad were always tight budget wise, and I'm sure at times ached with a desire to not have to take bags of clothes from other families so that we could have clothes. I'm sure my Mom and Dad had desires to simply go to Nordstrom and buy us and give us all our own new clothes and Gameboys and Reebok Pumps etc. I'm sure they at times really wished they could just get a new car and not have to drive a fifteen passenger van around. I'm sure at times they wanted really badly to just go to a restaurant and sit back and enjoy a big expensive meal instead of having to cut coupons and craft together economic meals on the stove.

But they chose life for us, and they chose sacrifice for themselves.

I often think about that ditzy secretary now when our family gets together almost every weekend for dinner to laugh and hang out. Some of the siblings might be out of town or busy with other obligations, but inevitably, all weekend long, every weekend, our family gets together. Sometimes, when we're out at a restaraunt, I see the couples who are alone with each other. They hardly talk to each other and the loneliness is palpable. A part of me feels bad that we're having so much fun with our 8 tables shoved together, telling stories, laughing good hearty and healthy laughs. Sometimes I wonder if one of the couples sitting in the restaurant quietly and solemnly is that dental secretary - who now has piles of money and can eat wherever she wants, but doesn't have hardly anyone to share it with. My heart breaks for the people who are alone, especially the ones who are alone because, when they could have been having children, they instead bought into the contraception lie and lived for themselves only.

I have a say today, and so do my ten younger brothers and sisters, because my parents chose life. Mom and Dad - thanks a million!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Michael Parsons and His Severely Handicapped Daughter Have a Say

I could write this essay about so many different subjects. I could build s story around my parents who raised nine kids on a teacher's salary and what a wonderful job they did. Or I could talk to you about the three foster children I adopted, since the other side likes to claim that pro-lifers only care about those in the womb and not the ones already here. I could expound on infertility and a host of other topics. However, the subject of this essay is my severely disabled daughter, Shannon.

When I was pregnant with our firstborn, I prayed that she would be a saint. When observing Shannon suffer the most I have told God--surely this is not what I had in mind. But I must remind myself that it is what He had planned. As our Lord told St. Faustina, "If angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is the receiving of Holy Communion, and the other is suffering." That is because suffering unites us with the cross and brings conversion to sinners. Shannon was deprived of oxygen and so she has a severe form of cerebral palsy and requires a feeding tube. She cannot walk, talk or eat, but she can love and be loved. She seems to be fully aware and understand everything going on around her. Like Terri Schiavo, Shannon can be a real lightning rod for people.

There are those people who can see only what's on the surface and those who have the grace see the into the deep. For those who only see the surface, they largely find Shannon's life not worth living, as she admittedly does have tremendous suffering. We've heard people comment about wanting to be euthanized if they were ever to become a quadriplegic, etc. This category also includes the cars who honk or speed past the bus illegally when her wheelchair is being loaded and unloaded each day. It represents the spry elderly people who give us dirty looks at Mass when the lift on our van is taking too long. They only see the inconvenience and not the person who represents Jesus in front of them. They are in such a rush to get somewhere, but where are they going exactly?

The second category is the people who see into the deep--those who see Shannon for who she is--a treasure, a rare beauty. My nephew who wants to be a priest once said about Shannon, "I feel lucky to be in the presence of a real saint. Her eyes are so special, that you can see sometimes that she is not always here, that she is already somewhere else spiritually." This category includes all the people who love her including some family members and her dedicated teachers and therapists who work with her to achieve all she can physically. It is the beautiful elderly lady at Church who asks, "How is my angel?" It is my mother who tirelessly works with Shannon in our home to give us breaks. This category represents so many wonderful people.

Cecile Richards--I have a say and I choose to give a voice to those like my daughter who cannot speak. I will never give up. Are you a person on the surface, or can you see into the deep?

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