Last week we went over to my in-law's house. They have a beautiful, large home and Joe loves to run all around, including up and down the stairs. Joe has no problem going up the stairs, and he's getting a lot better at going down. So when he is hanging out at the top of the stairs I don't bolt over there like I used to.
However, this time was different. Joe had been playing around upstairs, running in and out of the rooms. He was standing at the top of the stairs and just like that- down he went. I bounded over in what seemed like two steps with my arms outstretched even though I was far too late getting over there to catch him. I looked on with horror as I saw my little boy tumble down the stairs.
I saw it all in slow motion. He started sliding on his back and I saw the look of terror on his face. Fear pierced his eyes. I saw his whole tiny body tense up as it twisted and turned down the stairs. I saw his hands reach out to grab on to something- anything to stop his fall. Those little boy hands that are still holding onto a hint of baby fat. All I could do is yell out, "Joe!" and run down the stairs after him.
He hit the landing with a soft thud, laid there in shock for a few seconds, then cried out. I scooped him up in my arms, my heart beating a million beats a minute and shakily held him. He stopped crying after 10 seconds, but my body would not calm down. Thankfully my in-laws' stairs have super soft, cushion-y carpet, so he wasn't hurt at all.
The way I have described this experience my seem to be a little over-dramatic, but this is the first time I watched as my child was getting hurt and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. Joe has had plenty of boo-boos. He's fallen off chairs, beds; he's walked into walls, even chipped a tooth. But I've always been able to be right there to comfort him. Even though him falling down the stairs probably lasted only 10 seconds I felt so helpless.
That was the first time I really, truly felt a connection with the Virgin Mary- mother of God.
I know so many who have a deep and committed devotion to Mary. I've always admired her, but never really "clicked" with her. I felt more of a connection with her when Joe was born, but nothing that made me feel like Mary and I were BFFs.
But the day Joe fell down the stairs made me think about how Mary must have felt as she saw her son marching to his death. Seeing him beaten, bruised, tortured and ridiculed... and there was nothing she could do.
Joe falling down the stairs is nothing like going to get crucified, but I could understand Mary's anguish. Her yearning to run to her child and hold and protect him. I understood her sadness at seeing her son hurting. My heart broke as I saw my little one fall down the stairs. Can you imagine the pain she went through at seeing her son being killed even though he did nothing wrong?
That night I started thinking about my relationship with Joe. I am pretty attached to him. Yes, there are MANY times during the day I want to crack open the bottle of vodka Ryan got as a Christmas gift. He drives me crazy at times. But when it comes to leaving him with others... I feel lost. We are very lucky that we have family nearby that like to watch him while Ryan and I can have time to ourselves, but I find myself missing him when I am away from him. I get a little depressed when I think about sending him to daycare or preschool. I won't be the one who kisses his boo boos. I won't be the one who sees his smile when he hears music. I won't be the one who gets to see him draw a picture, or teach him a new color or shape. I HATE that feeling. I know I shouldn't feel that way because there will be SO many others besides me that will teach him and shape him. Maybe it's my pride or my overwhelming desire to always protect him, but it bothers me.
It is tough to swallow realizing that God did not give me Joe as my own personal little person who loves me and entertains me. God made him as his own son, a son who will be with him again someday in heaven. God made Joe for the benefit of others, besides me. Someday he will grow up and live to serve his wife and children. There are times now he likes to dance with me. I will pick him up and he'll rest his chubby-cheeked face on my shoulder and we'll sway. I flash forward to his wedding day when I will sway with him, but then he'll go and dance with his bride and they will drive off together and begin a new life. There are times when he sleeps with us at night and I wake up and he'll be looking at me with his beautiful blue eyes and smile. Someday it won't be me he is smiling at, but his own son or daughter.
How did Mary feel knowing her son was made to die for us? She knew that something was up when she and Joseph presented their baby to the temple. After Simeon had blessed them he turned to Mary and said, "Look, he is destined for the rise and for the fall of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed. And a sword shall pierce your own soul too..." (Luke 2: 34-35) This probably gave Mary the clue that she wasn't going to have a normal life with her son. He wasn't going to grow up to be a carpenter like Joseph and get married and give her grandbabies. He will die to redeem mankind.
I don't want to focus on the tremendous responsibilty Mary must have felt at raising the Son of God. (Can you imagine losing the boy Jesus, the MESSIAH, for three days?!) I keep thinking about how she must have felt rasing Jesus knowing he wasn't going to be with her phsycially forever. How would it feel knowing that he was born to serves others... to save others? How did Mary feel whenever she saw her own toddler son fall and scrape his hands? Kissing them, not realizing that in about 30 years they will have huge nails driven through them and hung on a cross?
|The Child Jesus and his Mother Mary from The Passion of the Christ|
Yes, my relationship with Mary and her son is growing with the aid of my own relationship with my son. My pain will never be as much as Mary's. But because of the pains of motherhood I especially feel her loving embrace when I think about dropping off my Joe on his first day of kindergarten or thinking about his first broken heart. I feel her loving embrace when I change poopie diapers and cook chicken nuggets.
I truly feel her loving embrace through all the ups and downs of motherhood.
Mother Mary, draw me closer to you so I can be closer to your son. Help me to be the best mother I can be so I can raise my children to someday inherit the glorious crown of heaven.