The woman had three sons and six daughters. Her day was full of chores to fulfill the numerous demands of her growing troop. She was always busy with cooking, washing, cleaning, dusting ironing and also counselling! One day her youngest son fell sick. She called up the doctor and requested him to drop by and examine him.
As he checked the boy’s throat, he asked the lady, “Madam, how many children do you have?” She hesitated for a moment, then said, “As many as I can take care of!” The man watched her as she sat beside her five year old son, who was burning with high fever. She dipped small hand towels into a basin of water, turn by turn and used them to wipe the boy’s burning brow.
From the doorway, her teenaged daughter, called out, “Mama, where are my hairpins?” “They’re in the brown box on the console, honey.” Just then her other son popped in, “I have to stay back after school for football today, I need an extra Tiffin, Mom.” She smiled and said, “Yes, darling I remember you have a football match today. I’ve packed an extra sandwich in the white box along with your Tiffin. It’s lying on the table, next to your breakfast. Now, run along and let me talk to the doctor.”
The doctor admired the ease with which she was in command of everything around her. He asked her, “Which one of them is your favourite?”
She said simply, “The one who needs me most.” “Which one?” he asked in surprise.
She said, “The one who is sick; the one who is sad; the one who is lonely…. the one who needs me most … That is my favourite child!”