Let Us Be Like Mary and Elizabeth | May 9, 2021 Essay
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! Whether you are a seasoned mother, a new mother, an expecting mother, a foster mother, a grieving mother, a spiritual mother, you deserve to be recognized today.
As a new mother myself, when I sat down to write this essay I had every intention of gushing about my sweet 10-month-old baby boy. He is so silly and sweet and watching him learn and grow has been the greatest joy of my life. I could write for pages about him, but I decided I instead wanted to share the biggest thing I have learned since becoming a mother: being a mom is HARD! I was unprepared for the intense sleep deprivation, the physical demand of picking up a 20+ pound baby all day, the heartache of seeing my child sick, and I was definitely unprepared for figuring this whole mothering thing out on my own during a pandemic. My admiration for Mary, a young girl giving birth before modern medicine and traveling with a baby to Egypt, has only grown!
In the Gospel today we hear, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” After knowing the difficulty of motherhood firsthand, what came to mind when hearing this passage was not my relationship with my son, but my relationship with other mothers in my life. I constantly lay down my life in small ways for my child, but do I do the same for other mothers who I consider friends?
I have a few mothers in my immediate friend group, there are mothers I follow on social media, and of course, there is my own mother and grandmothers. I started reflecting on ways I have ever put them before myself. Knowing now how hard it really can be to be a mother, I was appalled to have trouble coming up with concrete things I have done to “lay down my life” for the mothers in my life. Even worse, I have seen how critical moms can be of each other on social media and while reflecting I noticed some of those tendencies to compare and judge within myself.
This Mother’s Day (and beyond!) I am challenging myself to find three things I can do for the mothers in my life each week to show my love and share God’s love—to “lay down my life” in some way. This week I am hoping to do something extra special since it is Mother’s Day, but in the weeks going forward I will be happy if I can even do some small act of kindness—a phone call, a walk, sending food, or an item they need, donating to an organization that provides items to mothers in need, etc. I know that I can (and will!) love the mothers in my life better, because ALL mothers are my friends for whom I should lay down my life.
Mothers, I hope each one of you is made to feel special today. I hope you are not only made to feel special by the people you mother, but also by the other mothers in your life as well. We can and should celebrate each other! Let us form a community of self-giving love where all mothers can feel supported. Let us be like Mary and Elizabeth—rejoicing with each other, caring for one another, and laying down our lives for each other.
I ask Mary’s intercession for all of you to have a Happy Mother’s Day today and every day!
– Nicole Bedard, Director of Religious Education