The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, November 20, 2004  

The Overwhelmed Life of Meghan Cox (Gurdon)

Meghan Cox Gurdon, the frazzled, Valium-addled columnist for National Review Online, has it rough, what with raising four children as a virtually single mother, her husband having gained notoriety for making himself suspiciously, albeit justifiably, scarce.

Rough, or so she would have readers believe, though my friend Tom each week puts the kibosh on the efforts of Mrs. Cox (Gurdon) -- Gurdon, or Hugo Gurdon, of the National Post, is the scarce mister of the household -- to exhale about the wacky, zany life she endures at home with the four youngins: daughters Wealhtheow, Hygd, and Freawaru, and son Mary.

Now, as a childless man, a "perpetual bachelor" as a family member once described me, I have only second-hand knowledge of the time, effort, attention, and devotion it takes to raise one's offspring regardless the number. I salute anyone and everyone who undertakes the task of raising children, particularly those children who have the good fortune to be my nieces and nephews (All 16 of them!), a gang that, when I'm gainfully employed, I can spoil like crazy and then leave to the care of others when the kids' rambunctiousness gets ugly. (Hey, what's a gay uncle for anyway?)

At the same time, and speaking as one of ten children, I've seen the parenting endeavor from the other side, so to speak, and in spades. And based on that experience I feel compelled to say that Mrs. Cox (Gurdon) is a wimp. A wimp I compare, and not favorably, to that red-state mother who appears in certain television advertisements for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. squealing, "When you have a big family like I do . . ."

Said red-state, Wal-Mart woman, at least as depicted in the commercial, has all of three children.

Listen, my mother, except under certain circumstances, raised ten children in quiet dignity, without drawing attention to herself, and with only one dishwasher, and did just fine, all ten of her children finishing college and eight of them earning at least one graduate degree (Soon to be nine, and with respect to the tenth, does it really matter?). I'm not saying I would like to try to better that feat myself, or even to try to, but, really, can't we keep things in perspective?

[Post-publication addendum: Since we're on the subject of National Review, may I ask readers a question? I always thought a man who carried "Jr." after his name was obliged to drop that suffix upon the decease of the elder relative from whom that honorific was derived. In other words, had I been named James M. Capozzola Jr. after, say, my father or one of my uncles (This didn't happen since my father's Christian name is not James nor did any uncle carry such name.), upon said relative's expiration wouldn't I henceforth be referred to as James M. Capozzola? With that in mind, and if I'm correct, why are we expected to continue to refer to that which is known as William F. Buckley Jr. as William F. Buckley Jr. instead of William F. Buckley?]

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