That also reflects how I feel every year on Mother’s Day. Every year I try to think of something wise to say or write about to honor the mothers of our parish, but no matter what I come up with it always just sounds foolish.
There are no good words that can express the debt of gratitude we owe to our mothers. I never will know what it’s like to carry another person within my body for nine months. I never will know what it’s like to give birth to and nurture a life through all of the drama and traumas of childhood and adolescence.
I know a woman who, a few years ago, gave birth to her fifth child. I asked her if she were perennially sleep-deprived from all of the crying and other “things that go bump in the night.” She told me that generally it’s not the noise that most robs her of rest. She said it’s the absence of noise – the times when one or all of the children are away for the night or when things just seem “too quiet.” That’s when she gets worried and lies in her bed awake all night.
See, I will never get that either. You mothers remain a beautiful mystery to me. You are ineffable to some degree as God is ineffable.
There’s a story of a little boy who came home in the rain. His sister asked, “Why didn’t you take an umbrella?” His brother chided, “Why didn’t you wait until the rain stopped.” The father scolded, “That was foolish. Now you will catch a cold.”
But the mother simply took a towel and dried his head and said, “Nasty rain. Why couldn’t it have waited until my child was safely home?”
Maybe only mothers can be wise and in love at the same time. God’s best blessings to all mothers.
P.S. The statue of the pregnant Blessed Mother is from Maternity of Mary Church in St. Paul.