Here’s what the group asked Carla, and what they heard her say:
Q. (From Sabrina) First I asked her to forgive me — there’s tension between our spheres. I instantly felt inferior when I saw that she was a principal. But God can call her to something and me to something and that’s all right. I asked her to forgive me . . . And I also asked if she had regrets.
A. Carla’s aware of the quality of time she spends with her children and family. “I have quantity,” says Sabrina, “and sometimes I forget the quality.”
Mim adds that “it felt good to hear Carla say, ‘This is a decision that God led me to.’ He’ll keep those regrets from being so piercing.”
Q. (From Naomi) What feels so bad in this calling? I sensed that you felt judgment [from others].
A. Carla feels so different from many of the women she’s around, explains Naomi. “She doesn’t have role models to go to and say, ‘How did you handle it?'”
Naomi continues, “My mom worked, too, and no one ever would’ve replaced my mom.” Naomi says she found common ground with Carla in her struggle to balance her responsibilities: “With 12 kids, the question is ‘How do you have enough love for all of them?'”
Mim finds common ground with Carla, too: they both spend a lot of time in “a man’s world.”
(From Louella) Not a question, but rather an affirmation: “I admire her, that she can handle a career and a family. I told her, ‘Go for it!’ I think she has it all.”
Q. (From Martha) What do you plan to do for your next life/career?
A. She’s ready for another career and she even thinks about retirement!
Q. (From Dot) Is there one thing that people say or ask that never stops being hurtful?
A. The most hurtful question for her is: “Do you really want someone else raising your kids?” Dot comments, “My mother worked and got away from home, and we told her, ‘It’s okay. We never forget that you are our mother.'” Turning to the group, referring to Carla: “She’s not neglecting her children.”
Later on, Carla speaks up: “If he’s called me, then he’ll be with me on the journey.”
“And equip you,” adds a supportive voice.
Lynette brings up stereotypes we can have of working women and illustrates this with her own experience. Carla invited Lynette and her husband over for supper and served a delightful meal, prepared in a slow-cooker. Lynette exclaimed, “Oh, you didn’t have to go to all this trouble, we’d have been fine with a pizza.”
Carla looked at her and said, “This is what we would have had for supper anyway.”
Lynette had simply assumed that a working mom wouldn’t have time to cook. Carla says, “I still love to cook, but I’ll also get pizza now and then.”
Later that day, Carla talks about “Hippie Peace Day” at her elementary school: “It was International Peace Day on September 21st. All the kids made Pinwheels for Peace, and then we did a march around the park that’s close by. We did little chants, tied to our anti-bullying theme: ‘Be a buddy, not a bully!’ And [we talked about] if you’re bullied at school, what do you do about it? How do you tell others about it and stand up for people?”
They dressed up like hippies. Carla says she wore a costume, but she’s “looking for real hippie clothes.” This year, she had colorful pants made from “that silky, crazy material” and a shirt with a vest. “And I had the bandanna on my head. The kids ate it up, they thought it was great. They were so funny.”
Readers, what do you want to ask Carla?