After her son was born, Mary spoke to Jesus one night in whispers, lying in bed together in the blue and the soft of dark. The boy was asleep, small mouth open and breathing. His chest rose and fell and Mary felt a surge of something that was almost like grief.
Her words were prayer and blessing both. “You are funny. You are strong. You’re independent. You know what you want and you go for it.” Mary’s chest swelled: “I am so proud of you.”
“I hope time and the world will do nothing to hurt you, hamper you, wreck up your confidence. Of course it will–but if only I could keep it from hurting you, I would. That must not be the right thing, though, because no mother can, and I bet every mother would. I love you so much. You delight me more than anything in my life. That’s cliche, maybe corny, but by God it’s true.”
This happened over and over: Mary would wake up early, trying to find a few minutes to spend in prayer and quiet, to feed the animals, to sit in stillness and to feel the earth between her toes.
And then “waah . . . waah . . .” She’d almost choose to ignore it. Mary needed the time. But she’d go to her son, and would every time be surprised by the most beautiful possible joy: him.
Mary wondered at this feeling, understanding that when others spoke of this joy it was not exaggeration or parental mush. It was just true. It was the roundness of Jesus’ shoulder and the way he moved his head and his unselfconscious breathing.
The pleasure of holding Jesus close to her was almost too much to bear at times. Mary never wanted to forget how gorgeous this was–what it felt like, what it smelled like, to have his perfect little baby body next to her–and she was afraid that she would.
After her son was killed, Mary held him close. She could remember how warm and soft his body was, once, and for a moment she almost wished that she couldn’t, it was so painful to know he had been tremendous, alive, and now, against her breast, he did not draw breath.
Weeping, Mary pressed her lips to his forehead, where blood was congealing. Mary said, “Oh, my God, why?” She said, “Oh, my son, I miss you. Oh, my God, I am so proud of you. Oh, my God, I love you.”