Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Woman I Admire

I promised not to get political on "String of Pearls," to keep it a happy place where you can go to get away from all of that serious stuff.  With the election fast approaching, politics is very much on most of our minds--but this blog was never intended to be a platform for me to express my personal views.

Despite that promise, however, I think it would be okay if I told you that I really like and admire one of the presidential candidate's wives; I like her very, very much and think she's a positive role model for women--and I would feel this way even if I wasn't planning to vote for her husband.  Which I am.  (Uh oh, I may have inadvertently expressed a personal political view there.  It won't happen again.)

The woman I'm talking about is Ann Romney.
Poor Ann gets trounced on and trash-talked about daily, for no better reason than that she happens to be married to an extremely wealthy man.  The have-nots these days often despise the haves, jumping to conclusions about them and assuming that anyone who's never had to live paycheck to paycheck can't possibly understand the concepts of anxiety or suffering, or care about the problems of those who are less fortunate than they.

There was an interview with Ann Romney in my most recent issue of Good Housekeeping, and after reading it, I liked Ann ever more than I did before.  I was impressed by the fact that she is a woman with deep faith.  She was asked, "What is the prayer you say when you're faced with...a big possibility, whether it's running for President or something that involves your children?"  Her response was, "What I've learned is that you can never ask God to tell you what the end is.  You can ask, 'Is this a good thing to do?'  But not, 'How is this going to turn out?'"  Although Ann is a Mormon, her answer is one that I can relate to as a Catholic.  We are taught to pray, but to remember that our prayers aren't always answered the way we think they ought to be, because God knows better than we do what's good for us.  We know that we must accept His will for us, no matter how difficult.

On the matter of wealth, Ann was asked, "In preparing for this interview, we collected questions from readers.  One question that came up again and again was around your financial success.  There's been a lot of talk about your husband's interest income and his earning $68,000 a day for speeches--which is more than most Americans make in a year.  How, with your family's wealth, can you understand the struggles of regular folks?"  I found her answer poignant and perfectly expressed.  Ann replied, "I acknowledge that we are very lucky and our struggles are not financial, but that does not mean we have not struggled.  You don't have to struggle in the exact way of every person on this earth to understand and have sympathy for those going through difficult times.  And, for me, I've gone through very serious health issues.  Once your health is taken away, you have nothing.  And so I would love people to know that we do care and that we do understand what it means to struggle financially.  And for Mitt, to have had success and to say, 'I understand how jobs are created'--I really believe that the country will be so much better off if he's President."

You don't have to struggle in the exact way of every person on this earth to understand and have sympathy for those going through difficult times.  Wow.  To me, that statement is nothing less than profound.

Ann Romney is a breast cancer survivor and she has MS.  She knows what it means to suffer, but I guess there are people out there who think that if you're rich, you have no problems--and apparently no heart.  I think this woman has a huge heart.

I've always felt an affinity for Ann Romney.  Like me, she fell in love with her husband when she was a teenager and she raised five fine sons with him.  Like me, she was a stay-at-home mom.  Of course, people probably think, "Sure she didn't work.  With all that money, she could afford to stay home all day eating bon-bons and watching soaps."  But I don't care if you're rich or poor or somewhere in between, staying home to raise five boys is an exhausting full-time job, rewarding but often difficult--and I can tell you from experience it's highly unlikely that Ann Romney spent her days in front of the tube eating bon-bons.

In the GH interview, Ann said that she got very depressed when she was first diagnosed with MS and went to a "scary, dark place for a long time."  (Blessed are they, the poor in spirit...)  What pulled her through was her faith, her husband--and riding horses, which apparently is an activity that is therapeutic for people who suffer from MS.  I was touched by the way she said Mitt buoyed her up when she was so low; he told her, "I don't care if you're in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.  I don't care whether you make dinner; I can eat cold cereal and toast.  As long as we're together, as long as you're here, we're going to be OK."  (Then she had to apologize to the interviewer because she started to tear up.)

I love this woman.  And her husband's reaction to her illness is exactly the one I know my husband would have if I was similarly afflicted.  There is something about these two people that makes me believe with absolute certainty that they should be the next couple to occupy the White House.  And that's all I'm going to say about that.


  1. Replies
    1. You know, the Romneys even had a dog named Shamus-- although they used the correct Irish spelling: Seamus--and so did we! (Remember when the press tried to crucify Romney because he strapped Seamus' kennel on top of the car during a family road trip?) So Ann not only had five boys like me, but a dog with the same name. Like I said, I've always felt a kinship with her, and I think she's awesome.