For Mother’s Day this year, my husband gave me a full night’s sleep. That’s right – a full night’s sleep. Playing nurse for my 19 year old daughter this week as she recovers from tonsil surgery has left me exhausted. Between the demands of home life, work, and another teenager in the house, I haven’t had more than 2 hours of sleep at a time for the last week – kind of feels like having a new baby. I’ve been walking around in somewhat of a fog, and conversation requiring mental agility leaves me lacking. My prayer life is scattered. I can’t make daily mass. I even lost a book I’m reading! How the heck does that happen?
I’ve thought about that a lot this week – the seasons of motherhood…my older child returning from her first year at college, and my younger child on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday, chomping at the bit to get her driving permit… all the while I tenderly care for their needs, recalling how hard it was when they were little. Yet I question, “How did it go by so fast?” The days are long, but the years are short…
Motherhood has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. It has taught me how to love in a way equal to no other. It has taught me to laugh and to forgive. It has taught me a faith and a reliance on God which is only acquired by being on one’s knees.
This morning I went to the 9:30 Mass at a neighboring parish, unaware it was the family mass (which is code for “if you don’t like noise, and you find children distracting go to a different mass.”) It was at times rather comical, and my younger daughter and I shook inappropriately with laughter at the varying antics of the little ones around us.
I scanned the church and saw a microcosm of motherhood: infants, squabbling toddlers vying for mom’s complete attention, a toddler who never stopped moving, a young girl with a flowered hairband resting on her bald head, children singing in the choir, teenagers, single moms, grandparents with grandchildren, and more.
As the celebrant proclaimed a familiar gospel, the story of the road to Emmaus, one verse jumped out at me: “Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” (Lk 24:15-16) I thought about how much motherhood can be that way. We walk along the road with all its joys and woes, and we are not alone. Jesus draws near to us. Sometimes though, there is something in us that prevents our eyes from recognizing him right next to us. A whole host of reasons exists: busy-ness, fatigue, discouragement, fear, doubt, or even something as simple as not looking for Him.
Whatever the reason, we must hold fast to the faithfulness of Jesus during all the seasons of motherhood, indeed in all the seasons of life. He is our constant companion, walking beside us to strengthen us on the journey. We can recognize Him in the words and kindness of friends, in the generosity and understanding of strangers, and in the steadfastness and gentleness of those we love. Mostly, though, we will recognize Him in the breaking of the bread (Lk 24:35).
So today, and in the days ahead, let us pray to have the eyes to see Him.
Alleluia! Alleluia! He is Risen! Anne