On our half-hour car ride back home from Sunday Mass, our little boy got a little fussy… a little whiny… a little inconsolable.
“Mama… Mama… Mama…,” it all started.
Apparently, being buckled into a restraint is the worst feeling for a two-year-old. Especially after a long, napless (God forbid!) day.
“Maaaa-maaaaa?” Long pause. “Maaa-maaaaa?” Long pause. “Maaaa-maaaa?” Long pause.
I responded every time with a calm repetition of his name, hoping that my tone signaled to him: “I know, I know. Yes, I pity you, my little baby. I know something’s wrong.”
Apparently, that didn’t work for my two-year-old.
The sheer desperation quickly avalanched.
“Maaaaa…. maaaaa. Maaaaaa…. maaaaa.” His normally joy-filled voice turned into the bleating of a helpless little lamb.
My husband asked him to ‘use his words.’
I asked him how he felt.
And in the back of my mind, this: C’mon! He barely talks. He has no idea what we’re even asking! We have no idea why he’s so miserable!
So I tried to validate how I thought he felt then console him accordingly.
Nope, didn’t work.
And then it dawned on me: Mama, you have no idea. Mama, just hold his hand.
So I did it. I held his little hand.
I turned halfway around from my shotgun seat and twisted my body into the most awkwardly contorted position. I dangled my hand above his car seat handlebar and grabbed one of those little hands. And I squeezed and stroked that tiny little hand lovingly whilst it laid in mine.
Then the cutest thing happened. My son squeezed back with his five tiny little fingers. I felt tension, and then release, not just physical, but spiritual.
And a smile spread across my son’s little face– smack dab between his two little cheeks.
My son calmed. His mama was holding his hand. I was there. I cared how he was feeling, even though I didn’t understand.
He was not silent for long, unfortunately. (Toddlers will get ya like that!)
Soon, he went right back to bleating “mama” while holding my hand the whole car ride home. But there was less desperation in his voice. And there seemed to be less agony in his little body (and his already big, big soul at age two).
I continued to hold his hand anyway. I wanted to show him my unwavering love. Even when he was (innocently and unintentionally) being mighty annoying.
This all made me reflect upon Christ’s presence in my life, and my spiritual mother Mary’s presence in my life. Christ and my Mama Mary: always willing to hold my hand, especially when I am afraid. They so ardently want my desperation and agony to turn to calm. They so deeply desire that I cast my anxiety aside and rest in them, especially in my sufferings.
So many days and sleepless nights, I just lack that childlike faith to hold out my hand! While even an earthly toddler knows the benefits of holding his mother’s hand, I sometimes lack the logic of a grown adult to do the same to my Lord and to my spiritual mother. Yet they are always there, wanting me to take their hand, to squeeze their hand back: in times of fear and anxiety, in times of sorrow, in times of confidence and calm, in times of joy, in the painstakingly ordinaries and the very banalities of life! Always.
O ye of little faith! Won’t you just hold my hand?
I hope we all live lives of wonder, but I hope that the one thing that we will never wonder is how truly loved by God (and his Mama) we are. None of us are orphans. All of us are wanted. If not by earthly people then by God and Mama Mary above. That unconditional love is truly a wondrous marvel in and of itself.