Mother of Six Children
Eun-jin Jo from Changwon, South Korea
My mom was a very kind and calm person. She used to read to me with a soft voice, and I liked it so much. I was brought up like a princess until I was five years old, when my little sister was born. She looked like a boy because she had only a few hairs and red chubby cheeks. Since my grandfather and grandmother had been eagerly waiting for the birth of their grandson, they were disappointed when my sister was born.
After my sister’s first birthday, my mom’s stomach started to bulge again. When my mom came to an event at my kindergarten, with her belly bulging out and her face swollen, I felt a bit ashamed of her.
‘Other moms dress themselves beautifully…’
The reason why my mom’s belly was so big was because she was pregnant with twins. They were both girls. It was the beginning of my mom’s suffering. My twin baby sisters cried almost all day, and my second sister who was once a good girl started to pee and poop everywhere in the house and just followed our mom while whining all day long, because she probably felt jealous of her twin sisters. On all such occasions, I just quietly entered my room and read a book.
When I sometimes woke up to go to the bathroom early in the morning, I saw my mom washing the clothes at that early hour.
“Mom, why are you doing the laundry now?”
“I don’t have time to wash unless I do this now.”
At that time, cloth diapers were widely used on babies. My mom must have washed so many diapers used by her three children every day. I was only eight years old at that time, and I took it for granted that my mom lived that kind of life.
Some time after the twins were born, my mother gave birth to another girl, and when she was 18 months old, the youngest child in my family was born—a boy whom my grandfather and grandmother had been waiting for so long. Of course, they held a party and invited all the people in my village.
However, it did not mean the end of my mom’s suffering. She continued to wash the clothes at an hour when other people were all asleep, and whenever we finished eating, the whole room was in a mess with scattered grains of rice, as it used to be. While she was paying attention to one of her children, another spilled water, and when she was wiping it up, another one crawled forward and made a mess in the kitchen. These same things repeated every day. One day, when I came home after school, my mom was crying while sitting in the kitchen. There was a broken sesame oil bottle beside her, and the oil was all over the floor. It was evidence of my mischievous twin sisters.
At that time, my mom was younger than my age now. She spent her whole youth raising her six children, without having time for herself.
Worrying that her daughters would be spoken ill of by others, she always dressed us in clean and neat clothing and braided our hair every morning. As her children even ate up two whole fried chickens in a moment, she herself did not eat any of it―not even once, saying that she did not like fatty foods.
Only after quite a while did I know that my mom liked meat and also loved to adorn herself. I wanted to let her live in comfort and abundance by serving her delicious food and buying her nice clothes as well, but I just kept putting it off until later with the excuse that I was busy, and I eventually missed the chance forever. I did not fully express my true feelings for her by saying, “I am sorry,” “Thank you,” and, “I love you.”
After my mom passed away, I realized how indiscreet and immature I was. As the oldest of six children, I took my mother’s suffering for granted and did not even think about helping her. I feel resentful towards myself for that.
Thinking of my mother’s life, I am reminded of Heavenly Mother. Mother does not have time to rest comfortably, even for a single day, because of Her children who are gradually increasing in number; She lives only for Her children. Time waits for no one. There is not a lot of time left for me to practice filial piety towards Mother. From now on, I want to take good care of my spiritual brothers and sisters and help Mother with sincerity while fathoming Her heart, as the true eldest daughter, so that I will never have any regrets again.