Who Gets the Last Laugh?

A recent report revealed almost a quarter of women aged between 40 and 44 with a master’s degree don’t have children and that the more educated and successful a woman, the less likely she is to become a mother.

A recent report revealed almost a quarter of women aged between 40 and 44 with a master’s degree don’t have children and that the more educated and successful a woman, the less likely she is to become a mother. 

Childless by choice.
Emotionally challenged.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2236467/The-women-think-theyre-clever-babies-Theyre-educated-dynamic-careers–believe-motherhood-beneath-them.html#ixzz2bsh6RWxU  “But, as therapist Marisa Peer says, the women who believe they are too clever for children will cost future generations dearly.  ‘Recent studies show intellect is passed on through females not males.  So for very bright women not to pass on those genes is a great shame.’ ”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2236467/The-women-think-theyre-clever-babies-Theyre-educated-dynamic-careers–believe-motherhood-beneath-them.html#ixzz2bshSqcsC

I personally think that women whose life purpose is their career and self-indulgence are deprived of spirituality and the understanding of life in general.  Intelligence is not just the ability to do math or to run a business.  Intelligence is understanding Life.

Love, sacrifice and the joys of parenting are much deeper and stronger than superficial and selfish materialism.  Yes, sometimes it is exhausting and frustrating.  Yes, it is not easy.  But that is why children make your life fuller and more rewarding.  And I don’t mean in a material sense, but participating as your child grows, physically and spiritually.

 

Rewording and enlightening having kids
Joys and hardships and love.

To be loved…love, affection.  To know that your kids need you.  That you gave life to another human being.  No work, no career can substitute for love. To have your loved ones near you when your journey, your life nears the end. And yes, leaving somebody behind when you are gone.

The reason that “intelligent” women do not want to have children is that they rationalize their lives.  They basically are finding “intelligent” excuses for not wanting to have kids.  And rationality is not one of the strong human traits.

People don’t realize the extent of human irrationality.  We are emotional creatures.  Our emotions are a part of us.  Our emotions shape us.  Yes, we also have rationality, but emotion and subjective experience is not controlled by rationality. ” http://www.thinktoomuch.net/2008/06/28/humans-are-not-rational-theyre-human/#sthash.XnsnNxA8.dpuf

Here is a beautiful quote: Yes, having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit. ~ Bill Cosby, Fatherhood

Childless and clueless.
Just stay there!

In conclusion I think that people who don’t want to have kids probably shouldn’t because nature is wise.  And these people are just not parent material. 

“Ladies who are too clever for babies should not have any.  Such a shame their own mothers didn’t feel the same way, no?”

http://judgybitch.com/tag/smart-women-dont-reproduce/

Memories of my Mother

What I realized that through all these hard times she was never angry or bitter.
Her smile was special and her life an inspiration.

 

The Kagan family
1950

When I was 3 or 4 I would wake up at night crying and mom would pick me up

And the bad dream would go away

I was 4 and my sister was 16 when my father was arrested and mom was left with two of us.

On just mom’s salary, we struggled to survive

Our vegetable garden helped give us fresh food.

Mom made clothes for us.

Many of our relatives were afraid to stay near the family of the “Enemy of the people”

We were basically alone.

My sister went to college far away because mom feared for her safety as the daughter of the “Enemy of the people”

I remember crying when mom left to visit father in Siberia.

Not sure why I was crying so hard.

It must have broken her heart.

Mom was 40 or 41.

She traveled for a week in a freight train carrying criminals to jail

My grandmother took care of me when mom was away.

Grandma could hardly walk so I was doing whatever I wanted to do, spending most of the time on the street.

Only when I grew up did I understand how hard it had been for mom to raise two kids alone.

It did not help that I was not well-behaved.

But I knew mom would take care of me when I came home dirty and bleeding. She always did.

Father was rehabilitated after Stalin died and came home when I was 8.

I remember bottles covering the floor for weeks.

All of a sudden we had a lot of friends.

I was not used to having a father. Life changed.

Mom was happy. It lasted 3 years

One evening my father was in a bed. He called out to me and asked for mom.

He had a heart attack.

Bypass surgery was not an option in those years. Father was at home.

I slept in the same room.

Every night I listened to his breathing, afraid to fall asleep.

He passed away on the fourth night.

I was 11, mom was 45.

She never remarried out of concern for us, her kids.

Mom worked in a kindergarten, then in a boarding school.

Money was tight but mom made sure that her kids are OK.

I remember working in our vegetable garden.

Grandma could hardly walk so she was sitting on the ground weeding the garden.

We all knew our survival depended on our garden.

I left for the technical school in Minsk after 8th grade.

Only now I realize how hard it must have been for mom to send me away.

We did not have a phone in the dorm and I was pretty bad at writing letters on time

So I would get a telegram from mom saying, “Are you all right? Please call”

Then I would go to the post office and call. I still feel guilty about it.

Shortly after I was drafted into the Army, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia.

Reservists were called and our unit was next to go to Czechoslovakia.

All communication with our families stopped. Later mom told me how scared she was for me.

There is so much that we kids do not understand. So much that we do not appreciate about what our mothers are going through, worrying for us. Many of us start to understand when we become parents.

But sometimes it is too late.

I cannot go back in time.

Mom was so happy when I got married, finally.

And she was devastated when we told her about our plans to emigrate.

Especially because our daughter, Inna, was born.

Mom was sure she will never see us again.

Mom used to write to relatives in Chicago but she burned all the letters and addresses after father was arrested. But she gave us the only connection that was left – my aunt in Israel

That is how we found our relatives in Chicago.

And Esther Ecker was like a mom to us.

After 10 years in America, I went back to visit.

When mom saw me she could not stop crying.

I think that is when she decided to visit us. Mom was 78.

Soon after, mom and my sister with her family came to America.

We were all together again.

I think these were the happiest years in mom’s life.

Our American family loved her.

By that time I got better and called her every day.

Mom was 89 when she went to the hospital complaining about pain in her back.

I think all the tests and tubes and more tests really affected her.

After two days, mom came home feeling very weak.

 

Baba Riva
Mom

I visited her that evening.

When I was leaving and said goodbye, she looked at me.

I remember her eyes.

Later, I realized that she knew.

Mom knew.

She passed away that night.

What I realized that through all these hard times she was never angry or bitter.

Her smile was special and her life an inspiration.

To my mother, Maria Stamm, because she is helpful, cheerful, optimistic, adventurous, brave, concerned for others, treasured by her coworkers and friends.

My mother is an inspiration to me because she is compassionate, tireless, and optimistic.

By Lina Kotlyar

My mother was born in the city of Nikolaev in Ukraine on July 12, 1932.  Her parents Lubov and Danil Varshavsky had three children.  She had an older and a younger brother.

The first nine years of her life she spend in Nikolaev.  As a little girl she wanted to become a ballerina.

June 22nd of 1941 changed her life forever.  The German Army invaded the Soviet Union and the Great Patriotic War started.

My grandfather was drafted to the Army.  My grandmother made a decision to evacuate to the city of Tashkent in Central Asia that was 2000 miles away.

On the way to Tashkent their train was bombed, but they survived and continued the journey.  At one of the stops, my grandmother went to get some hot water.  When she came back, the train with her three children was gone.  The youngest child was two and a half years old.  My mother was 9 and her older brother was 11.

In the chaos of evacuation, my grandmother was frantically looking for her children.  After two months of search, she found one child in a hospital and two others in two different orphanages.  They were all sick from malnutrition.

After three months of traveling they arrived to Tashkent without any personal items, money, or food.  Luckily, my grandmother’s sister lived in Tashkent.  The family shared their small house for one year.  Later, my grandmother rebuilt a small hut nearby, and the family lived there for 18 more years until the earthquake destroyed it in 1966.

From 1947 till 1954 the family shared these accommodations with a cow.  The left wing was occupied by a cow, and the right wing by the family.  Although, after I was born my mother had to go back to work after 3 months of maternity leave and the cow was sold because my grandmother had to take care of me.

My mother started to work when she was 13-years old in a factory that was sewing women’s underwear.  She worked during the day, but attended evening classes in school.  Since that time she never stopped working.  Even now, at 80 she still works part time.

In our family, my mother was always a breadwinner. Wherever she worked, her peers and management always respected her.  Eventually, she was able to build a relatively comfortable life in Tashkent.  After the earthquake, she received a state apartment and bought modern furniture.  Later, she even bought a car, which was very unusual in the Soviet Union during those days.

At the age of 47, my mother abandoned her comfortable, by Soviet standards, life and came to USA to start over.  I think that it was very brave and adventurous for her to do that, but she believed for better life for her children and grandchildren.

She studied English, worked in a hotel as a housekeeper, and in an alteration shop as a tailor.  Two years after arrival, she was able to start her own cleaning and alteration business.

She is very optimistic. She believes she could do anything.  At the age of 45 she decided to learn driving. In the Soviet society, very few women dared to drive.

The word “Yes” has always been her favorite word.  She would not hurt anyone’s feeling with a negative reply.  She gladly agrees to do anything people ask.  Moreover, she would say “Yes” even if she did not understand the question.

It seems to me that the main focus of her life is to help people.  She has been actively participating in upbringing her 6 grandchildren.  She helped distant and close relatives, friends, acquaintances, and numerous strangers.  In the early 90s, the emigration from the Soviet Union increased.  She helped her numerous relatives and other newcomers with food, clothes, transportation, and encouragements.

My daughter, Lisa wrote a tribute to her grandmother on her 70th b-day celebration.  Lisa listed the top 10 reasons for being a Grandchild of Maria Stamm.  Here are few of them.

  • You have the best rate in town to get your clothes mended or altered.
  • You know who to ask if you need any empty bottles or jars to store food in.
  • Within 5 minutes of her visiting your home, she starts cleaning or cooking something.
  • She is always eager to give you fashion and hair advice.
  • She can teach you how to parallel park because of her expertise from her city lifestyle.
  • You can always recognize her car from afar because of the unusually large amount of pillows and other unidentifiable objects in it.
  • She is the only person (I know at least) who can mistakenly drive to the wrong city, hundreds of miles away from her destination, when going on vacation, and still somehow unite with the cruise ship, already charting its course.
  • Her response to any request is always “yes”, even if she does not know what the request is.  “No” is not a part of her vocabulary.

My mother is an inspiration to me because she is compassionate, tireless, and optimistic.

Lina Kotlyar

As long as I can remember, my mother dreamed of leaving the Soviet Union.

As long as I can remember, my mother dreamed of leaving the Soviet Union. When I introduced Nathan to my parents, my mom’s first question was if Nathan would be open to the idea of leaving the Soviet Union. Only after receiving a positive answer from him did she give her blessing for us to marry.

My mom
Anna

When I introduced Nathan to my parents, my mom’s first question was if Nathan would be open to the idea of leaving the Soviet Union. Only after receiving a positive answer from him did she give her blessing for us to marry. In 1977, the borders opened up and Jews were allowed to leave the Soviet Union. Although my parents could not leave, my mother insisted on Nathan and I applying to leave with our newborn, Inna; she didn’t want us to miss this opportunity. What struck me was the courage my mother had to push her only child and only grandchild (and of course her only son-in-law) out of the country. She did not know if and when there would be another chance and if they would be able to join us later. But the dream of a better life for her children prevailed over any argument as to why now might be a wrong time to leave.

me and mom 1967
Me and mom 1967

I do not remember lots of hugs and kisses from my mother. I do not remember conversations praising me on my achievements. I do not remember my mom saying, “I love you.” But I do remember the sacrifices she made to feed my sick dad and I at a time when food was scarce and their paychecks were not enough. I do remember the efforts my mother made to get us out of the country despite every obstacle. I do remember her enormous help around the house despite her dislike of housekeeping when she and my father came to this country. I do remember her learning English at the age of 56. She was in a new country with a new language and she wanted to be able to talk to her grandchildren. She did not want to depend on her children if she needed to make a phone call, fill out an application, etc.

She still does not like to trouble us if she needs something. The only thing she asks is for us to call once a day. I love my mom because she does not wait for my call – she calls us every day.

(I would have said “she calls once a day” but this is a massive understatement according to Nathan)

Our Mom

In many ways, my Mom was our tent pole. She was tough; she was brash; she was loud, she could embarrass; she was fiercely loyal to and defensive of those she loved; she was so real; she was so warm. She not only held us up; she held us.

 

My mom
Matt Cole

This was written in 2007 and read at my mom’s funeral. It comes from my heart and brings tears to my eyes 6 years later.

Friday was a difficult day for this family. My sister Abbey, whom, my wife Marilee and I thank so much for shouldering much of Mom’s care these last these hard years and I lost our only mom. My brother-in-law Max and Marilee lost their second mom, Uncle Marty his only sister, Alisa, Helaine, Hope, Barrie, Wendy and Dara lost their last grandma, and 14 children lost a special, special great-grandma.

Only in this crazy family could three sisters and a brother name their first born the same name, Rozy. To differentiate them, they were called Big Rozy, Little Rozy, Moe’s Rozy, and just plain Rozy. Ours was just plain Rozy, but there was nothing plain about her. To my knowledge, she only earned two prizes in her lifetime: one, a beauty contest when she was a little girl and the other bronzed booties for warming our hearts and feet when she was 90. But she was a world-class mommy, grandma, and great-grandma

My friend John Ungashick related to me that when George Washington died, The Federalist Party said it had lost its tent pole. He held up his political party, the Federalists. Indeed, a few years after his death, the Federalists disappeared. Our family won’t disappear without our Rozy, but it won’t be the same.

In many ways, my Mom was our tent pole. She was tough; she was brash; she was loud, she could embarrass; she was fiercely loyal to and defensive of those she loved; she was so real; she was so warm. She not only held us up; she held us.

I can still remember at about the age of seven while waiting in line to see the Christmas Show at the Radio City Music Hall being squished between her warm body and her Persian lamb’s wool coat as only she could squish. No one could warm you like my mom. I touched her after she died and that warmth was still there. It seemed that even death could not take it away

Mom was lucky… she lived a long life; she got to see 13 great grandchildren in person, and she saw Xena’s picture which I showed to her just hours before she died. I know she saw it. I know it made her happy. I watched her open her eyes and felt her squeeze my hand as each of my daughters said goodbye to her. Between her pained breathing she mumbled something each time. It was so hard to understand, but one time I could make it out, and it was “I love you.” That’s what mom was so good at — loving you.

Remembering our mother
Mom beauty contest winner

 For her great grandchildren: I give you a little history lesson

When she at your age Xena, the Titanic was being built

When she was as old as you Sita and August, WWI started

When she was as old as you Harry and Ruben, the 1916 Model T Ford was first produced for $250

Sophie, the Russian Revolution broke out when she was your age.

Orlando, when she as a old as you she survived the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic

Jack, when she was ten, women first got the right to vote

Amy at your age in 1927, Charles Lindberg was the first to fly solo the Atlantic

 

Remembering mothers.
Our mom

Casey and Brooke, she was 18 when 1929 Great Depression occurred

Robert, at 21 she voted for her first President, FDR

David, 22 it was a good year. Prohibition came to an end

At Jeff’s age, things became terrible for this world as Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began.

Grandma survived WWII, the death of Kennedy, the landing on the moon, 911 and almost made to the end of “Bush-that bastard’s” (her term) term of office. 

She was with us a long time, but not long enough. I always say at occasions like this “There are so few people who love you. It is such a loss to lose one.” This is one helluva loss.

Mom, you knew how to love. Oh how we will we all miss those hugs. Mommy, I love you so much.