The Perfect Mother
      by Charlotte Volnek

I fought back tears as I shut the bedroom door behind me…actually shutting it a lot harder than any rational adult should have.  Through clenched teeth, my anger snapped at the walls.  “What was I ever thinking when I said I wanted to have children. I should have listened to my mother and raised flowers instead.”

It had been a trying week. Everything seemed so messed up. The kids wouldn’t listen. All we did was fight. The littlest thing would turn into a mountain of confrontation.

Yes, raising flowers would have been much, much easier. 

I stormed through my room to the bathroom, frustration balling my fingers into fists. I turned on the water and slipped into the tub. Within seconds, my heated emotions wilted into depression. What had I done so wrong? Why couldn’t I be the one in control? I was the mother after all. Why couldn’t I be the perfect mom?

For several days my emotions see-sawed  back and forth. I grumbled in my prayers, demanding God to force my children into submission, and blaming him when they didn’t.  Why didn’t He care? Why didn’t He answer my prayers? I felt alone and abandoned.

More days passed. Finally in desperation, I picked up my rosary and sat down contemplating the prayers to the Virgin Mary. Maybe she would listen to me and make my children succumb.

Hail Mary, full of grace.

Yeah, Mary had it easy. She had the perfect son. My kids were anything but perfect.

The Lord is with thee.

And Jesus listened to her. He turned the water into wine at her suggestion after all. Sure he argued a little, but he still did it.

Blessed art thou among women…

See, everyone knew she was perfect.

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

Yes, Mary was a great mother. She took care of her family. She was always in control. Why couldn’t I be more like her? What was I doing wrong?

My thoughts tumbled as the images of Mary and Jesus (from the many movies I’d watched) flashed through my mind...Jesus as a baby, sleeping soundly in his mother’s arms, a glorious radiance surrounding them. Mary caring for a young boy Jesus, and worrying over his straying from the family to spend time in the temple. Jesus as a man, teaching to the masses. Mary was always there, an ever present fixture of motherhood.

The images flashed faster, to the last day of Jesus’ life. My breath quickened. I felt the horror and dismay as Mary watched Jesus being led before the priests, to be accused and scorned. She watched silently as the crowds cursed and spit at him. How she must have trembled as they scourged him, beating his body bloody and ripping his flesh.

When Mary met Jesus in the streets of Jerusalem, the cross heavy upon his shoulders, he told her he ‘was making all things new.’ And all she could do was follow him. Follow him up to Calvary where the soldiers nailed him to a cross and raised him to hang like a criminal. She watched as her son struggled for breath. She wept as he cried out to God and then gave up his spirit…to die for sinners…like me.

The realization hit me hard. Mary, the perfect mother, wasn’t always in control. What must have been going through her mind as she watched her son, our Lord, suffer and die? Why didn’t she argue with Jesus, or beg him to save himself from this torture. We know he could have…but she didn’t even ask. Why didn’t she curse God as they lay the precious body in her arms? Instead of cursing, blaming, begging or pleading, she remained steadfast and surrendered her control to God’s infinite plan. She placed her trust in His ultimate wisdom.

I bowed my head, remorse flooding my face with tears, the reality of my human weakness bearing heavy on my heart. I closed my eyes and began to pray, begging for forgiveness for my pride and arrogance. In the silence, two arms embraced me from behind, squeezing my neck tenderly. I touched my daughter’s arm, love swelling within. Yes, despite all the trials, I loved my family with all my heart. And they loved me. They were not perfect, but I was far from being the perfect mother I so wanted to be. Yet, I would do anything for my family, guiding them and protecting them the best I could…and when I couldn’t…when things balanced beyond my human dominion …it is then I needed to take the powerful lesson from Mary and offer them up to God, surrendering my control and placing them in His ever-knowing hands. 

I whispered a grateful prayer to Mother Mary, for being the perfect example of Motherhood, reminding me to always go to God in faith and trust, placing my family in the care of His love and wisdom.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.

I wish a most Happy and Joyous Mother’s Day to all mothers. You have been given a most precious vocation; to care for and love God’s children!

Inspired by true events...

Just Another Day

Is it morning already? I rub my eyes and get up to ready myself for just another day. It's just another day...I look out my window to see the sun beaming down, caressing the Earth with its golden rays. Above, white clouds float in the brilliant blue sky. I hear a cardinal singing to his mate as he perches upon my back fence. And a bed of crocus open their purple heads to the heavens in joyful thankfulness. 

It's just another day. My small daughter bursts into the room, her giggle ringing through the house as she hugs my neck tightly. Her small hand fits into mine as she pulls me to the kitchen to show me the card she has made. A stick figure with curly brown hair waves from the paper and beneath it, written in purple crayon are the words, "I love you, Mommy." 

It's just another day as I stand quietly and watch a handicapped child. He struggles to get his special walker over the curb, but it won't budge. A well-meaning teacher offers assistance, but he brushes her away. With determination, he conquers the curb and is off to laugh and play with his friends. I weep inside for his handicap, but I am inspired by his courage. And I smile as I watch the children play, totally accepting their friend for who he is, not judging him for what he lacks. 

It's just another day. My son proudly presents the report he did for school. He shares with me the hopes and dreams he holds for his future. His curiosity and excitement are contagious as we unfold the limitless possibilities that lay before him. I am encouraged that no dream is beyond our reach if we want it bad enough. 

It's just another day. My beloved wraps his arms around me and surrounds me in love. I turn to look in the eyes that share my innermost feelings. What a special friend I have. Someone who loves me for who I am. Someone to lean on when I feel down. Someone to share my happiness. Someone to love. 

Yes, it is just another day. A day to enjoy God's gracious beauty upon this Earth. A day to kiss the cherub cheeks of my children, and share in their hopes and dreams. A day to learn the value of determination and hard work. A day to learn the value of judging mankind for the quality he has, not what he has not. A day to learn the value of love. 

Yes, it's just another day, I sigh. The stars dance in the velvet sky as a full yellow moon smiles cheerfully down. The house is quiet and still. The only sound is the soft even breathing of my spouse. I recall the scripture: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) And as I lay at the side of my soul mate I pray that God will let me see "just another day"!

May you have the most blessed of days!
Charlotte Volnek