Kathleen Gilbert

Bay and her Boys: the story of a single mom, three boys, and the family that wouldn’t lose

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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May 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bay Buchanan is not a mom you want to cross.

Pat Buchanan’s policy-wonk sister, once the youngest-ever U.S. treasurer under Ronald Reagan, Bay is well-dressed, well-spoken, and could probably handily cut you down in a live televised debate on trade policy.

She has just published a book that features herself on the cover. Ms. Buchanan looks crisp but relaxed above a wide white collar, red cardigan, and understated jewellery, not unlike her appearances on CNN and MSNBC. Yet for this cover, she ditched the debate table and is instead flanked by three handsome, smiling men.

These are the surroundings she likes best - the three boys she raised alone from the moment two decades ago that the political strategist known for her “rapid-fire retorts” found herself staring at a handful of divorce papers. When their father abruptly walked out of their California home, Billy was four, Tommy was two, and Stuart had not yet been born.

In “Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected lessons I learned as a (single) Mom,” we get a fascinating view of what Bay herself surely wished she could have seen that dreadful first day: just what happens when a sharp analytical mind and a truly indomitable will turn to attack full-force the problem of bringing three boys across the ocean of a fatherless childhood.

The results are extraordinary, and Bay wants everyone, especially single moms, to know that - no matter what the statistics say about kids without dads - it can be done.

Ms. Buchanan lays out a short list of the essentials: put the kids first. Strip parenting down to the basics. Give your kids a home to love. Rely on family traditions. With an unflagging determination to “love being your kids’ mom,” she says, these will get you through.

But she insists early on: this success is simply impossible under the illusion that single motherhood is a system that inherently works. Instead, it’s precisely because of her clear-eyed certainty that a father is irreplaceable that she says she was equipped to meet her son’s real needs.

It is a bittersweet testimony to the importance of family that stands at the heart of the book. That man, to her nothing more than a painful void in her life, was more than solid gold in the eyes of her boys. No matter how thin the scraps of that gold, she decided, they would have them all.

Even though friends pushed her to take advantage of her large extended family and great job opportunities in Virginia, Bay stayed in California after the divorce to give her boys a chance to see their dad in custody visits - which were often rescheduled or dropped - for six years. And her sons couldn’t be more grateful.

“What little time I did spend with him is more precious to me than all the riches in the world, more precious than anything, save time spent with my Mom,” wrote Stuart.

“Today,” wrote Billy, the eldest, “I would trade most anything for a moment longer with Dad.”

It’s a truth about family Buchanan couldn’t have missed if she tried. The product of a strong Catholic family of nine children, she often reflects in “Bay and her Boys” on her own father’s role in her life, anchoring her family deep into a home that flourished with strong affections.

When she describes the cluttered, comfy home her boys grew up in, although Bay acknowledges it’s far from the ideal of her own childhood home, her words betray a deep pride. She and her sons agree: however messy, however overrun with pets (the house had twelve furry additional members), their home was the boys’ sanctuary and Bay’s masterpiece.

“My house wasn’t just a building where I ate, slept, and loved. It was where I always wanted to eat, sleep, and live. And I wasn’t the only one; my friends felt the same way, and if any of them try to deny it, ask them how many days they spent at their own homes during the summer,” wrote Stuart. “And my house was hardly the biggest, or the cleanest, or the nicest. But we loved it, and that made all the difference.”

Bay’s advice on building a physical home was plain: “Design it around them,” she wrote, “and join them there.” She molded her home the way she molded her own life.

Throughout the book are peppered stories of how kids clashed with career - or more accurately, with whatever assignment she happened to snatch up in those unsteady years. One live debate in Texas on the impact of U.S. trade policy on agribusiness required hours of research that evaporated into a sleepless night with a vomiting 9-year-old. At other times, Bay came away the victor, turning down producers of the political talk show Equal Time offering a co-host position until they agreed to tape the show when her boys were at school.

Her honesty about these clashes is brutal. “For years,” she wrote, “I had heard so-called experts talk about the need for moms to set aside personal time and private space. ...

“And every time I did, I laughed out loud. What were these people talking about?”

“Many professional women argue that they’ve worked too hard getting to where they are, that they’ve got too much to lose if they put it all on hold, that they’ve grown accustomed to the money their career provides,” she mused. “I suspect many are just scared.

“It’s a huge change for them, a significant sacrifice that takes them out of their secure world and drops them into unchartered waters. But being a good mom means putting your kids ahead of your career along with everything else in your life.”

The book is an often funny, often incredible testimony to the force of a full-throated “yes” to life and family, even after a family has been broken. Bay’s intelligence and intimidating drive focused like a laser beam on how to be her son’s mom, no compromises, period. An analytic precision that could have launched her to the top of the political map was instead poured into the title she valued most.

Bay, who now resides in Virginia, says that she hopes the book will fill an appreciation gap for single moms who feel battered by both sides of the aisle.

“It is indisputable that life is tougher for kids raised without a dad in their home but, for millions of us, that is no longer an option for our kids and we struggle every day to see that our kids beat the awful odds,” she said in an interview accompanying the book. “Surely, I would often think, there is a message of hope for us - an encouraging word or some guidelines on how we too can succeed? But I never heard it from the right or left.”

Ultimately, “Bay and her Boys” is a fascinating tribute to the power of motherhood - single or married - and a heartening encouragement to all moms who feel beaten by the odds.

“It’s our job to see that our kids make it. It is tough and, at times, brutally difficult, but we can do it, and we can do it well,” she wrote.

“Numbers don’t tell our story. We do. We are moms.”

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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11-year-old in Uruguay refuses to abort after rape

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An 11-year-old girl in Uruguay is making headlines for refusing to abort after being raped by a 41-year-old relative. Pro-abortion organizations in the country are using the case to ask for a broadening in the law, which allows for abortion up until 12 weeks gestation, 14 weeks in cases of rape, and up to 9 months when the life or health of the mother are at risk or when the baby is “unviable.”

Local media report that the girl, who is 18 weeks pregnant, lived with her abuser for over a year prior to the pregnancy. Her mother is now asking authorities to make her abort, but according to the local newspaper La Diaria, a team of psychiatrists from Uruguay’s Child and Adolescent Institute (INAU) has said that “the girl’s position has been confirmed without a doubt: she wishes to be a mother.”

According to her relatives, the girl suffers from a mild mental incapacity, although she is not considered handicapped.

In a press conference, Susana Muñiz, president for the Association of State Health Services and former minister of health, said: “An 11-year-old girl obviously has a body not prepared to be pregnant, with a very small uterus.”

However, according to Monica Silva, head of the INAU’s Health Division, “There is no risk to the life of the girl nor that of the baby. We cannot force her to abort.”

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“Even if her mother wants it, it would be inhuman to force her to abort,” continued Silva. “The fact that there was a rape doesn’t allow me to force her to abort. This [aborting] may seem like a protection of her rights but it is against the girl’s will.”

Nevertheless, a press release “demanding” that the girl abort “immediately” was issued by several pro-abortion NGOs soon after, on May 12. “The hypocritical and bureaucratic system allows for her rights to be undermined without considering the cost this will bring to the girl,” it read.

“Who will take charge now to stop the undermining of her rights and protect her health and her life? How much longer do we need to wait before somebody decides responsibly on the interruption of that pregnancy?” it concluded.

In her interview, Silva also said the girl’s parents “never visited, with exception of one of the six siblings she has.”

 “The best that could happen would be to ensure that she has a ‘welcoming family,’ that would receive the girl with her baby,” continued Silva. “I doubt we can achieve that because it’s hard to find families who want this challenge.”

The girl remains under INAU’s care and her abuser has been imprisoned.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Christian jeweller made gay couples’ rings but still got targeted by gay lobby

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By Steve Weatherbe

MOUNT PEARL, Newfoundland, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) –While North Americans are used to reading about Christian business people being fined and excoriated for refusing to cater to homosexual weddings, Newfoundland has added a novel twist: there a Christian jeweller has been punished financially and deluged with hate mail even though he did do business with a homosexual couple.

Nicole White and Pam Renouf liked the service they got from Esau Jardon of Today’s Jewellers in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, who took their deposit and proceeded to design and build them two engagement rings. They even recommended the store to friends.

But by the time one friend went there, the Mexican-born Jardon had put up a sign in his shop window marking Mother’s Day—and his strong, traditional Christian beliefs: “The Sanctity of Marriage IS UNDER ATTACK; Help Keep Marriage Between Man & Woman,” it read.

The friend went ballistic. Her picture of the sign went viral. The couple went back on their deal and back to the store, demanding their deposit. Today’s Jewellers’ Facebook page was so deluged with hundreds of hateful emails and many threats that Jardon and his brother, who is his business partner, have to shut it down.

LifeSiteNews asked White if Jardon had been punished enough. “Omigod, yes,” she responded. “Way, way too much.” But earlier she explained to a local newspaper why the couple cancelled their order. “The ring symbolizes love, and just knowing that that’s the sign that they have up there — every time I look at my ring, yes, I’ll think of us, clearly, but also everything we went through. So I don’t want my ring from there anymore. I just want my refund.”

At first, she reported, “They just said that that's their beliefs, and they think they can put up whatever they want. I just said it was very disrespectful, it's very unprofessional and I wanted a refund,” White said. “I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But I don't think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business.”

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Jardon, at first, was loath to return it, lest this be seen as an apology for his beliefs. Reached in Toronto, he told the St. John’s Telegram, “When I walk on Church Street in Toronto, where I am right now, and I see [LGBT rainbow flags], and I see a lot of signs and a lot of things on public property, I don't have a problem with them. I accept it. I chose to come to Canada... and we accept the whole package... I don't discriminate against that, nor do I come and tell them to take them down. For the same reason, I ask to have the same respect in return, especially when it's in my own business.”

But what is sauce for the gander is not sauce for the geese, or for the LGBT community that crowded onto the bandwagon, or for the CBC which was all too ready to label the jeweller’s sign “homophobic.”

However, some have offered support and sympathy. Rod Dreher, blogging at The American Conservative, observed that only so-called sexual minorities expected this kind of treatment. “Is a fundamentalist Christian permitted to send her osso buco back to the kitchen if she discovers that homosexual hands cooked it? Of course not. Some delicate snowflakes are more delicate than others.”

Referring to recent decisions by courts and human rights tribunals against Christian vendors who refused to serve homosexuals, Dreher concluded on an ironic note. The pressure on Jardon to return the deposit marked “the next phase in the March of Progress. You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.”

Jardon defends his right to his own opinion. “One of the reasons my family chose to move to Canada was the rights that it offered, the freedom of religion and freedom of speech, both of which at the time seemed to be very limited in Mexico,” he said.

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Canadians headed to the ballot box for the fall federal election should remember the right to life is 'the most basic thing in society,' the archbishop tells LifeSiteNews. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Exclusive: Clinging to Christ will help those struggling with sexual identity, says Montreal’s archbishop

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By Pete Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Montreal’s archbishop, Christian Lépine, weighed in on what the Catholic Church actually has to offer people struggling with the biological sex they were born with, telling LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that it’s no mistake that God creates the human person as male or female and that every person must look for their identity within a “view of God.”

“The teachings of the Church as such, its most basic one, is that we’re made in the image of God. That's always the starting point. And when you lose track of that — that you're made in the image of God — then somehow you come to lose trust in who you are as a human being, and you know less of who you are, and you don't know anymore who you are, and you [find yourself] looking for your own identity outside of a view of God,” Lépine told LifeSiteNews last week one day prior to the annual National March for Life that drew an estimated 25,000 pro-life advocates.

Following the first book of the Bible, where it is stated that God created human beings as “male and female,” the Catholic Church has always taught, and continues to teach, that the male/female binary is God’s plan for mankind.

As the book of Genesis (1:27) states: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses that recognizing and preserving the male/female sexual difference is necessary for a healthy society.

“Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out,” the Catechism states.

Lépine said that anytime questions about sexual identity arise for the faithful, “we must go back to the basics,” namely that “every human is created in the image of God, and of course, biblically, every human being exists as a woman or as a man.”

The archbishop’s words are foreign to mainstream notions of so-called ‘gender fluidity’ where male/female difference is construed as a social construct and ultimately as a personal choice.

Lépine acknowledged that some people suffer when it comes to accepting their own sexual identity as either a male or female based on biological characteristics.

“Sometimes people have sufferings about their own desires, or about their own sense of identity, or about the fact that masculinity and femininity exists, or about the fact that you as ‘human being’ [exist] as a male or female, as a man or as a woman.”

He called the male/female binary “a reality that is part of the [human] experience,” adding that it is also “taught in the Bible.”

Lépine stressed that the Church does not leave people “looking for a meaning in their lives and their own sense of identity” to struggle on their own, but offers them many helps and aids, including a clear anthropology on the nature of the human person.

“As Christians, we have the Bible to help people. We have Jesus Christ to help people. We have faith in God to help people. So, going back, [we must be] conscious that we are made in the image of God. And our own sexuality — what is the meaning of being a man or woman — is related to our vocation to love. And, every human being as such, made in the image of God — being a man or woman — is called to love.”

“So, how [are we] to help [such] people? You can talk about things theoretically, which is one thing. But also, we have to be conscious of people who live through situations where they're looking for their own identity and we need, I think, the Bible and faith to help them.”

Fluid notions of gender have been criticized by Pope Francis on at least three occasions, and prior to this, by Pope Benedict XVI.

“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion," Pope Francis told young people during his voyage to Naples, Italy last March.

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In his 2012 Christmas greeting, Pope Benedict condemned gender theory as a “profound falsehood” since it denies the male and female sex as a “given element of nature.” According to Benedict, instead of acknowledging that God created people male and female, gender theory posits the existence of sexual social constructions that people can decide to conform to or not.

“The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”

“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being,” Benedict concluded. “The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears,” he said.

Earlier in the interview, Lépine spoke about the need to “promote relentlessly life and respect for life” in the face of the country’s top court setting the legal stage for allowing doctors to end the lives of their patients under the pretext of compassion and mercy.

“You don't take care of someone when you suppress the life of someone, because you're not solving a problem. You're suppressing the person. It doesn't work,” he said.

Referring to the upcoming federal election this fall, the archbishop called “life and the right-to-life and dignity of the person” an “important subject, because it's the most basic thing in society.” 

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