You have to be crazy to become a mother. It is the most demanding, thankless, difficult, frustrating, wonderful, fulfilling, and heartwarming job in the entire world. Doing this job earns you the title of “mommy.” Each mother has a different job description…somethings stay the same, like chasing away scary monsters from under the bed, fixing and kissing boo boos, reading stories, etc. To read the real job description would be enough to scare anyone away. Good thing these don’t end up in the paper. Part of mine would say “Must carefully read every package of food to ensure you don’t give your son peanuts or tree nuts, which may result in anaphylaxis. In addition to this responsibility, you will have to administer medication twice daily to one child to prevent him from having seizures, and try to navigate a medical anomaly that no one can explain or give you a prognosis. Must remain calm under pressure at all times in spite of the occasional feelings of panic that all could go wrong at any given time. Additional responsibilities include trying to find enough time to give your middle child attention, as she may have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle.” And that’s only a small part of it.
I spent a lot of time channeling my great-grandmother, Olga, while Zach was in the hospital. I will write what I know about Olga sometime, but for the time being, know that she was the most stubborn woman in the world, and all of her descendants got a healthy dose of this in their genes. Some say I got a few people’s share in mine. I needed this stubbornness for Zach as he was seeing specialist after specialist at the hospital, and theory upon theory was coming out about what his difficulties may be (funny how the fact he was recovering from a life-threatening illness didn’t come into play too often). I channeled Olga to keep me strong, and think about what she would do in this situation. As knowledge of Zach’s condition was coming to light, which really meant we didn’t know what we would face, I began to worry that I wasn’t cut out for this, and I didn’t know what to do.
I never felt sorry for myself, or thought “why me? why does MY child have to have this?” Plenty of times I thought (and still do) “why him?” I don’t want him to suffer, and I have an unrealistic expectations that none of my children will experience heartbreak or suffering (I’m a mom, it’s what we do). I knew this child would need a lot, and I wanted to be good enough. My sister heard me say I was channeling Olga, and she told me that if anyone was built to handle this, it was me. “You are the reincarnation of Olga. Of course this child was given to you, because you are the one who can take care of this like no one else can.”
After some time pondering that thought, I realized that I was chosen to be Zach’s mom. Jen was right, Zach was going to need a lot of special care, and a stubborn advocate, and I was just the mom to do it! I came to realize that I had been given one of the greatest compliments God can give a woman–God was saying to me, Here, take this child with many special needs, and take care of him for Me. Love him, raise him, look out for him, and give him everything he needs. I feel so honored to be the mommy to all three of my kids.
Let’s take a minute and think about Mary’s job description. “Duties include carrying the son of God, who will go on to become the Savior of the human race. Conception will occur by the Holy Spirit, and you will face shame and humility for this because not many people will believe you. Your intended husband may or may not stay with you. In the event that your husband does stay with you, be prepared to take a long journey by donkey to his hometown shortly before your due date. Priceline and Expedia don’t exist yet, so you cannot make hotel reservations. Be prepared for uncomfortable lodging, and giving birth in a stable. If you thought not having Priceline was bad, just wait. Epidurals don’t exist either. In about 30 years, you will have to give up your son for the good of humanity so others won’t have to face hell.” Any takers? This doesn’t make what I have to do seem so bad.
We celebrate Christmas as the birth of our Savior, but after becoming a mother I can’t help but spend a lot of time thinking about what Mary went through. A mom’s journey is challenging enough without giving birth to a child who will save the world and all that goes with that. She had the guidance of God, the support of Joseph, but I wonder what her thoughts and worries were raising her little boy. I like to think of her not just by her formal title of “the Mother of Christ,” but as something I can relate to: a mommy.