I have mom friends. Friends with blessedly healthy toddlers. Friends who's worries swirl around raising up kind and generous children, the state of public schools and whether their children are, or will be, picky eaters.
Mom friends. This is a first for me, for us. As my little guy ran about with one of his small friends, as they laughed and giggled at the very surprise of each other...I found a well of gratitude. Gratitude that my world, my imagination has been expanded in so many ways.
Because, for so long, my understanding of parenting had been shaped by children who were sick and/or dying. By sudden collapse, pain and grief. And in my attempt to understand, to find God in the midst of the suffering, I embraced the image of La Pieta. This sculpture of Mary seemed, to me, to best model maternal love...a mother holding her dying son. And in those early sleep deprived days, I could imagine and hold her love and grief close--because my son seemed so fragile, so small against the face of so much misery in the world--because I was so afraid. Blessed Mary, mother of God...
But, this image of grief is not the full picture, just the one that that I had become most familiar with. Centering on grief, because it is so much of what I have seen, is apparently a failure of my own imagination. I have let fear win too often and of late I have begun to have my heart expand with the ability to just enjoy the joy of it all. Because, there is SO much more to be seen and imagined--visions of love and joy and grace and delight that formed the love that was able to hold onto the grief.
So let us imagine some other visions of Mary. Mary chasing after a toddling, giggling, raucous boychild, scooping him up to nuzzle his neck. Mary smiling at her nurslings fingers meandering about her face, a mama nose and lips gently touched. Yet, I am sure those moments existed--and it is my mom friends who have shown this to me.
Mom friends. Friends. What grace. And now my own sweet boy awakens--and I will go to find the joy he holds.