The word “mother” is fraught with meaning. Everybody has one — yet for a wide range of reasons, not every woman becomes one.
Some of those reasons have to do with personal choice, while others reflect a painfully cruel twist of fate. Whatever the circumstance, it’s safe to say that “non-moms” are often forced to contemplate and carve out their own unique space and meaning.
A well-regarded book by author Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos describes many in this subset as a “Silent Sorority.” But one beloved female icon has no problem articulating the significance she’s chosen to see in her situation.
Her name is Dolly Parton — and if you’re like almost anyone, you instantly recognize the name. The 71-year-old is an iconic actress and country music star, with a vibrant career that spans more than five dynamic decades.
After releasing legendary tunes like “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You,” Parton could have easily rested on her laurels. But instead, the beloved celebrity has chosen to demonstrate that it’s never too late to explore new avenues.
Her latest endeavor is called, “I Believe in You.” It’s Parton’s first album expressly written for kids, and it was released worldwide in October 2017.
While promoting her album on the talk show circuit, the beloved songstress explained that this young-at-heart initiative reflects her increasing involvement with children in recent years. She also touched upon the reasons why she’s never had any of her own.
She explained that although she’s been married to her husband Carl Dean for over 50 years, she feels that not having children was part of God’s larger design for her life. “I think it probably was his plan for me not to have kids,” she said, “so everybody’s kids could be mine.”
While on the TODAY show, she elaborated that all proceeds from her new album will help “put more books in the hands of children.” That’s because the album release date was specifically timed to coincide with the 100-millionth book donation for her own Imagination Library.
Founded back in 1995, Parton’s very special library exists to provide children with free books until they begin kindergarten.
The project’s website explains that, regardless of a family’s income, Parton wants every kid to “be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create.”
Parton has previously explained that her own sizable family helped instill in her heart an abiding love of children. “I grew up in a whole big bunch of kids,” she’s said, “eight kids younger than me.”
When TODAY hosts asked her to theorize why youngsters seem to adore her, Parton pointed to her signature sense of style. “I have that high-pitched voice, I’m overexaggerated — I look like Mother Goose or one of those overexaggerated cartoon characters,” she said good-naturedly, “and kids just kind of relate to that.”
Hi everyone! Come sing along with me on a special Sprout House, “A Day With Dolly,” premiering on Universal Kids TODAY at 11:05am/10:05am CT. The special will re-air on Wednesday, December 13 at 9:55am/10:55am CT and Thursday, December 14 at 9:55am/10:55am CT. The special will also be available on the Sprout YouTube channel beginning Thursday, December 14.
During her TODAY chat, Parton also conceded that her joy and wonder for life could be seen as charmingly childlike. She even joked that she’d waited for her own “second childhood” to record her kid-focused album.
The singer has also explained that the children of her siblings have essentially adopted her and Carl, calling the couple “Aunt Granny” and “Uncle PeePaw.” She’s also an honorary godmother to pop sensation Miley Cyrus.
The always-effervescent Parton offers an inspiring, faithful example to females all around the world. Her charitable efforts and generous spirit demonstrate that God can call any woman to be a caring “mom” — in more ways than one.
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