As all of you know, this last year has been one of EXTREME changes for the Brouse family. I can say, most of the changes have been expected: lack of sleep, lack of money, increased volume in the house, and lots and lots of love, joy and fair amount of drool. But one thing I did not expect was how much motherhood has really changed my perspective. And while part of me did think that would happen, I guess I didn’t quite “GET IT”.
But there were a lot of things I didn’t quite get. I’d heard about the depth of a mother’s love, but I didn’t get it. There’s fierceness about it that I never understood. There’s also an underlying terror to being a mom. There are so many “What Ifs” that one could drive a Mom crazy. What I trip and drop him? What if he cries and I can’t figure out why? What if I don’t get a cabinet latched properly and he ingests something harmful? And don’t get me started on the perils of learning to walk!! The first time he tumbled and hit his head on the end table, it was literally painful to me to see the bruise…I would have gladly taken on 5 bruises if I could just take away the owie from his one bruise.
As he’s reached milestones in the last year….rolling over, sitting up, standing, trying real food, first tooth, first steps....I can’t help but fast forward and now worry about his future, which compounds both the depth, fierceness and the terror of a mother’s love. What if he has a hard time making friends in grade school? What if he’s bullied? What if someone breaks his heart? And it’s during thoughts like that that I really understand a Mother Bear. Meaning, I will take someone OUT if they hurt him. ;) I’ve jokingly been known to say that this City girl knows a guy named Luigi back east who can make “problems” disappear. ** chuckle** And while I’m kidding…sort of…the fierce emotion behind that need to protect is very very real to a mother.
Which brings me to this Christmas….and yet another change of perspective.
Like you, I know the story of the Angel, Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus, but motherhood has given me whole new connection to it.
Over the past few weeks, my thoughts have been firmly set on Mary. And in a way, we were on the same path to motherhood. DON’T GET ME WRONG! While Will indeed “a” son of God, he’s not “the” son of God. No, what I mean is that this time last year, I too was about 15 months pregnant (at least it felt that way) And I know that there were never be a Christmas that happens that doesn’t remind me of the expectancy I felt a month before he was born.
But Mary, had to make long hard journey when she felt 15 months pregnant. (Kevin had a hard time getting me out of the house, I cannot imagine Joseph having to talk Mary in to taking that trip!) And I’m pretty sure she would NOT have been a happy camper during that journey. The physical discomfort, the worry about her unborn child, and the stress of the unknown would have driven and already hormonal, pregnant lady to the brink I’d think. Then to find out there was nowhere for them to stay…can you imagine poor Joseph having to deliver that little nugget of information to Mary? I can only imagine the “conversation” Mr Mouse and I would have had in the same circumstance.
Then think of that night….the night she labored. (And there’s a REASON it’s called LABORING!....IT”S WORK!) My heart just breaks to think of her alone, but for Joseph, without the comfort and aid of her mother or other women to help. Truly take a moment to think of it…a young woman laboring in a cattle shed, with only a young man who likely knew very little about childbirth to help. Can you imagine HER fear? HER worry? How about Joseph? I clearly remember the look of disguised of fear tempered with joyful expectation on Mr Mouse’s face when he walked into my delivery room in the hospital. And I try to think of how he would have been in Joseph’s place. He would have tried to wear the most patient and competent face he could have just to keep ME calm.
And then after all that labor and worry…..Jesus comes. There is NOTHING more vulnerable than a newborn. I can imagine Mary’s shaking hands cuddling her infant to her. I can imagine Joseph's face transformed with Joy. I can imagine the quiet aftermath as Jesus finds his first human comfort suckling at Mary’s breast.
Maybe it’s because I’ve now experienced a year of those tender moments with my son, that I can now so clearly see that real scene in my mind. And I know in my heart that young Mary felt the same sort of fierce, tender, and terrifying mother’s love for Jesus.
A young mother who probably had the same hopes for her son that I do for mine. But unlike me, she in some way knew that his path was already set by his heavenly Father. It’s unclear how much she knew or understood about what Jesus’ path would ultimately lead to, but I think she probably did consider that his physical end would not been good. And frankly, I’m in awe of her.
I don’t know how she did it. I mean I know my fears about my son and I know how all I want to do is to protect him from every type of harm that could befall him. Mary had to feel the same way about her beloved son. I asked myself how?
Clearly, the one answer is FAITH. Now, I’ve run many years with my faith bank on empty. By the time I was 9 years old my mother and my grandmother died. And over the next 15 years I lost my other 3 grandparents, 2 friends and 1 fiancé. The final blow was when I lost my Father in 2002. I’ve felt for many years that I ought not attach myself too closely to people because they wouldn’t be here for long. I’ve spent many years angry with God.
But this year, as I felt a sisterhood based in mothering with Mary, I realized that her Faith allowed her to love and care for her son…knowing all along that he would never be hers…he would belong to everyone. She cuddled that baby to her breast, comforted him when he was teething, kissed away tears caused by skinned knees and mean people, encouraged him as he learned carpentry from Joseph and followed him as he stepped along the path that led him to Calvary.
What amazing faith she had!
This year, has made Mary very very real to me. I’ll never look at the Nativity Scene and see her as an ethereal untouchable Saint. I’ll see her as a woman, as a mother…a mother with a heart full of love for her son. With faith in God, strong enough to believe that no matter what happened to Jesus all would be well. And maybe I’ll be able to slowly keep rebuilding my faith bank keeping her as my example.
Christmas blessings to you!