Today is my daughter’s birthday. She turned 3 years old. As I snuggled next to her this morning and gave her kisses waiting for her to wake up, I was filled with excitement for her. Birthdays, like other holidays, are a time of magic in childhood. And at my daughter’s current age, it is pretty easy to make her happy and make her feel special.
This morning was our parish’s last day of Vacation Bible School. It is the first time she has been old enough to participate. I dropped her off and then proceeded to run errands. I always pick up three mylar balloons for her at the Dollar Tree and I got her favorite meal: mac n’ cheese and vanilla cupcakes (I will make cupcakes for her party on Sunday). As I ran around feverishly, some thing like sadness started to creep in. I pricking, piercing feeling. The realization that my daughter is already 3. How did that happen?!
I came home and decorated our kitchen in princess theme and colors. I wanted her to return from VBS and know that it was her day. The day we celebrate the greatest gift that God has given to my husband and me. Sometimes I think God is crazy for trusting us with her! I also wanted to get her brand new three wheel scooter put together. Unfortunately, I pulled out the directions and my brain said: “Cannot compute”. The directions might as well have been in Chinese. I can do abstract theological and philosophical pondering, I cannot put a bike together from a poorly conceived diagram. I raced next door to my friend’s house and asked one of the guys to do it. What a blessing, he agreed to do it for me. My hubby is at work and we forgot to get it done this week.
The time quickly came for me to pick her up at VBS. As I pulled out of the drive-way, I began a Rosary offered for my daughter. Since becoming a mother, the story of Simeon telling Our Heavenly Mother that she would be “pierced as with a sword”, has resonated with me. There is a piercing aspect to motherhood. Some actually have to feel the same pain as Our Lady, in the loss of children. I have known that pain through miscarriage. But, there is a piercing in the every day. As my daughter gets older, I see time speed by. I have to let her go a little more each day. That comes with bittersweet tears. Joy is always combined with pain on this side of Eternity. It is through joy that we know the pain that cuts right through us; the knowing that this cannot last forever.
I also thought about the Sorrowful Mysteries as I prayed them. The agony of waiting encompasses so much of motherhood. Whether it is when they are sick or hurt, or even in teaching them new things. Motherhood is to live the Cross. It is to stretch our arms wide and give until there is nothing else left to give. It is accepting the joy and the pain. That is the how we experience love on this side of the Veil. So I would say to all of you mothers out there. Take a closer look at Mary. Contemplate Simeon’s words to her. Pray about the swords that pierce you through and how Christ sanctifies you as a mother. God bless you always and may Our Heavenly Mother intercede for you in your daily tasks as a mother.