Happy May Day!
I’ve been sharing about motherhood here around here lately…which is funny because most days I feel like I have no idea what I am doing with all of these crazy kids.
No idea at all. Mostly I’m just making it up as I go.
But, it’s May, Mary’s month. So today I’m going to defer to her.
She is the authority on motherhood, after all…and man, do I ever have a lot still to learn.
1. Motherhood is a Mystery
The story of the Annunciation is insane.
An angel, an immaculate conception, God made Man, a simple peasant girl… What?
Motherhood as I have experienced it is (obviously) much more common than what Mary experienced at the Annunciation, but no less mysterious.
I got pregnant with Gus less than a month after we were married. The first time I bought a pregnancy test, the first time I took a pregnancy test, was the night we found out we had (somehow) made a baby.
Like Mary I was confused–although my confusion was due more to the fact that I hadn’t read the directions on the test very well.
And yet, that day and each day I live as a mother I get swept up into the mystery of it all.
How is it that this child was given to me? How is it that this child lived inside of me for 9 months and was so perfectly formed? How is it that God so magically combined me and my husband into this other autonomous person?
Like Mary standing before the angel, I marvel at these wonders.
2. Mothers need to Support Each Other
I love being pregnant at the same time as one of my sisters or dear friends. There is something very important feeling about your wombs being near each other–about experiencing the miracle of pregnancy together.
Mary modeled this through the Visitation. She modeled that pregnant women and mothers in general need each other.
I have been blessed with some pretty incredible mothers that offer me support on my own journey. From the practical to the impractical no one will every truly understand like another mom.
3. Becoming a Mother Transforms Us–and the whole World.
Mary gave birth in a barn, far from home. The event was simple, humble and epic.
The births of my own children were simple and humbling. I give birth in big factory-like hospitals. People were kind, but they were strangers. And with these strangers I screamed and cried and moaned, and laid there naked, sick and desperate. All illusions of pride I might have had were utterly gone.
But through that humility I was made a mother–God entrusted a perfect little human into my care, just as He entrusted his own son, Jesus, into the care of the Blessed Mother.
And through that, of course, everything has changed.
4. Mothers are Teachers
The lessons Mary taught Jesus were quiet and simple, and yet so important.
The words Jesus said on the cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” echo the prayer he likely would have learned from his mother before he went to bed as a child (source).
Suddenly the simple things I teach my kids carry more weight.
5. It’s Okay for Mothers to Worry
Well thank goodness for this, because I am a worrier!
As as a worrier I can’t help but be annoyed with young Jesus in the story of Finding Jesus in the Temple. Even Mary is annoyed and (uncharacteristically) chastises him saying in the Gospel of Luke, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
I am like Mary and don’t understand fully what Jesus was up to, but Mary wasn’t out of place to worry. We’ve all felt our heart drop to our knees when we turn around expecting to see our little one…and they are gone.
God has entrusted these children to us, and that is a huge responsibility.
So often I have fears for my children that I simply don’t know how to address. What will the world look like for my children when they are grown? How will they stand up to all of this evil? How will I instruct them in the truth?
Like Mary all I can do is pray, and treasure these things in my heart.
6. Mothers need to Trust Their Children
The Wedding at Cana might be one of my favorite Marian stories. It’s a simple wedding and the wine runs dry. Mary looks to her son.
Although He has yet to work any miracles, Mary knows his capability saying, “They have no wine,” implying clearly, “do something about it.” He balks but without missing a beat Mary turns to the servants saying, “Do whatever he tells you.”
This short exchange is such an interesting mix of direct instruction, intimate knowledge and complete trust. She asks something of her son that, it turns out, is totally within reason. Jesus obeys his mother and Mary trusts that he will.
My interactions with my own children are, um, far from this, but through her example I want to strive to know my children so completely that I ask only what is reasonable of them and trust completely that they will obey.
We have a ways to go…
7. Once a Mother, Always a Mother
Mary at the foot of the cross. Mary cradling the broken body of her son.
During those early weeks and months of motherhood it took me a while to really see that my life was FOREVER changed. FOREVER.
One Saturday when Gus was just a couple weeks old a group of our friends were getting together at a bar. Without thinking we agreed to go and started getting ready.
And then it hit me–because I had somehow momentarily forgotten–we had a baby. We couldn’t go.
I remember that moment so clearly. We both sat, looking at this tiny baby, realizing that our life was really and forever changed. I know that’s a silly example–missing out on one unimportant night out, but it was a turning point for me.
Now, 4 years later, I worry sometimes that the entire chemistry of my brain has changed since I became a mother. I am with the kids so much that I struggle to be away from them. Even when I feel so strongly that I need a break, I don’t want to be away from them.
They are mine. They are my precious miracles When I am with them I feel so intensely the abundant blessings of God–the blessings and grace of a mother.
I want to be with them always, just as Mary stood at the foot of the cross
I feel like I fumbled my way through this post, on my thoughts on this lessons are a bit pathetic. I have so far to go on this journey of motherhood, so very far.
Thanks for being here–and I hope that you have a beautiful month of May with Our Lady.
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