It’s one of the “givens” of childhood, I think, that kids can depend on their moms. An attitude of “Don’t worry, Mom’s got this” is not only natural, but healthy! Kids should be able to depend on their moms to get them out of sticky situations. Of course, this doesn’t excuse them from learning responsibility as they get older. But at the same time, we all like to know we have a net to fall back on when the going gets tough.
This morning, during my weekly rosary study group, we were discussing the 5th Glorious Mystery. Four of us were discussing the questions while two toddlers and a baby played on the floor of my family room. Now, what does this have to do with kids depending on their mom?
Ahhhh, friend. That’s where the story gets interesting, so stick with me.
The 5th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary is the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Sounds very lofty, doesn’t it? Well, author Bonnie Engstrom had an immensely relatable and touching reflection that made it easier to digest. She talked about how Mary’s queenship actually started much more humbly than the star-crowned lady mentioned in Revelations. Her queenship actually started in a quiet home in Nazareth and that we, as wives and mothers, can look to her in that regard. Not just as some distant royal, but as a real life, living breathing woman. After we read that, the very first question for reflection in the study* seemed pretty straightforward. She asked:
What is your relationship like with your own mother? What is your relationship like with Mary as your Heavenly Mother?
As loaded as that first part could have been, for our group, it was pretty easy. No major mom issues with any of us! (Side note, my mom is the absolute best and I want to be just like her when I grow up.)
The second part proved a little tougher. One woman had a very strong relationship with our Blessed Mother and has for as long as she can remember. The rest of us seemed intrigued and fond of the idea, but rather noncommittal when it came to actual practice.
Anyway, we kept talking about wanting to have a greater devotion and thinking that we should have one. And while we talked, this thought just kept coming back to my mind.
Learning to Drive in the Rain
Yesterday afternoon, my 16 year-old son was driving me and my other three kids around town. He has his learner’s permit, see, and he needs every opportunity to practice before he takes his driver’s test next month. When we left our house, the sky was kind of foreboding. Really gray and getting darker by the minute. Sure enough, right as we left our neighborhood, the skies opened and rain came pouring down in buckets.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been caught in a Florida downpour, but it is tricky even for the most seasoned driver. Sheets of rain, giant puddles, some drivers going 10 mph, some passing everybody like it’s a dang race. Suffice it to say, having a license-less teen behind the wheel was scary.
As a mom, I was torn. I knew in my head that he needed this experience. He needed to learn how to drive in that mess while I was there to help him watch for danger and help him anticipate what he should do. But in my heart, I just wanted to yell pull over and let Mommy drive, little boy!! My head won that battle.
For the entire 25 minutes that my teenage chauffeur was gripping the wheel, I was instructing. “Look here. Watch there. What should you do if…?” My eyes were peeled on the road every bit as much as his were. My fingers gripped an imaginary steering wheel and my foot tried repeatedly to press the imaginary passenger side brake pedal.
Do you know what else I was doing? Praying, that’s what. Hail Mary after Hail Mary on an unending loop in my head.
Mother Mary, Our Port in the Storm
I told you to stick with me, friends! I really do have point here! This is the revelation that I finally had when I put two and two together.
Like I did while my son was driving, many of us turn to the Hail Mary as a cure-all or a go-to in prayer. It’s something we can say when we either can’t think of anything else or our minds are too busy to dive deeper in prayer. Basically, it’s the Catholic way of saying, “Mooooom! Fix it, please!”
So, in a round about way, just like my son was able to depend on my guidance to help him drive in a difficult conditions, I was able to depend on my Heavenly Mother to protect us as we went.
Sometimes, going through those rote prayers, saying one Hail Mary after another without giving it much space in your brain is really OK! In fact, I’d almost venture to say that it’s good! It means that, just like our children have enough trust in us to take care of their needs, we have enough trust in Mary and her ability to intercede for us with her Son that we can pester her a little bit. Do you know how happy that made me?
Now, while that may not be any earth-shattering flash of theological brilliance, I hope it makes you feel a little better about those times when your heart may not have been completely into saying your rosary. Or when a Hail Mary went unfinished as you fell asleep or got interrupted by #lifewithkids.
Because, let’s not forget. As this cartoon so expertly put it, Jesus was Mary’s own Son and the rosary probably started out a lot like this…
*Not an affiliate. Just wanted to show you what we used.