I've been meditating lately on the beauty of women who are mother to many.
These are the mothers whose children take up a full pew at mass; the women who seem to have a child in each grade and could easily fill half a classroom with her own; the women who can't do quick trips to run errands but rather are perpetual chaperones on endless, mini-field trips to the grocery store.
I've wondered, sometimes, if they are constantly counting from 1 to 9, like I would, to keep track of everybody.
A mother like this is rare in today's society. She was very common two generations ago, but today--as a result of culture and consumerism and selfishness and the seemingly insurmountable financial restrictions placed upon families today--she is a rare, precious gem.
All of these women share a certain kind of beauty, I have noticed. At first glance, she seems to wear a tired, worn-out look. But, upon further study, this is merely an illusory veil; she may feel tired, but she is not worn-out at all. Her beauty is not at all faded; rather, she is continually dying to herself, giving of herself, and pouring forth her love at a rate that exceeds normal human expectations, an act in quantity unprecedented by most and therefore almost completely unrecognizable to us. Her giving of love is divinely inspired because Motherhood is, and it is from this experience that her true beauty is made visible.
Perhaps only her family knows her true beauty, and that is how God would want it. She lives a hidden life, lifting up and supporting her husband and children without calling any attention to herself. She has no time to put on jewelry, let alone find it; she hasn't applied makeup in years; and her clothes are purposeful, not fashionable. None of these exterior things matter, you see, when your treasures are being stored up in Heaven...and here on earth in hopeful, growing, little human beings.
The beauty from this type of mother pushes past her wrinkles, shines through her un-styled hair, and cannot be wholly contained by the body. Perhaps that is why she has had so many children! The love is overflowing. :)
March on, Mother of Many. You are an inspiration to all of us.