Have you ever seen the letters “WWJD?” The phrase “What Would Jesus Do” appears on bumper stickers, wristbands, coffee mugs and various other tchotchkes from time to time.
As a young mother, however, I often find myself asking, “What Would Mary Do?” To me, Mary, the Mother of God, is an amazing model of perfect motherhood. She was courageous, understanding, faithful and humble. Having a young child myself, I often picture Mary rocking the Infant Jesus to sleep in the dark after He has awoken for the umpteenth time. I can envision Mary rocking Him, calming Him, and responding with loving words.
In particular, I often think of the story of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:39-52). As St. Luke tells us, Mary and Joseph had gone to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, and while they began their journey home, the twelve-year old Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, unbeknownst to His parents. Mary and Joseph couldn’t find Jesus for several days. When He was found at the Temple among the teachers, I can imagine Mary’s relief at finally finding her Son, but also her patience and understanding in realizing why Jesus was missing. The Gospel even tells us that Mary “treasured all these things in her heart (Luke2:51),” the way a mother today cherishes every moment of their child’s young life.
As a young mother, Mary is an ideal role model for me. In my own life, I try to channel Mary’s patience and understanding when it’s 3:00 AM and my eleven-month old son is up yet again, for the third or fourth time since he went to bed in the early evening. There are some nights where my little one refuses to lay down, and I spend hours trying to rock him to sleep in my arms, sometimes with little to no success. My son is a gift from God, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in this life. But patience and understanding are sometimes hard to come by when you are operating on two or three hours of sleep for a long stretch of nights. It is times like these where I try my best to emulate the Blessed Mother.
I also notice the effect of a long night on my husband and me. We’re both exhausted the next day. Sometimes we snip at each other because of how tired we are.I often wonder if the Holy Family endured everyday trials and tribulations as new parents. Did Joseph help Mary soothe the Infant Jesus in the wee hours of the morning Was it hard for them when Jesus was teething and couldn’t sleep? How did Mary and Joseph find a way to connect as a couple while caring for Jesus’ every need? I guess when you are awake for hours on end because your little boy fell asleep in your arms, you have plenty of time to ponder these things.
As I celebrate my first Mother’s Day with my son and husband, I am thankful to God for the amazing gift of a wonderful family and in particular, an incredible little boy. I know that no matter how little sleep I get, or how difficult being a young mother sometimes seems, it is a sacrifice worth making. For anyone else in a similar situation, just think to yourself: What Would Mary Do?