By Suzanne Jones Smith
Editor’s Note: In this Mother’s Day reflection, Suzy, a former teacher, reflects on her role as a full-time, stay-at-home mother.
“I am who I am becoming”…I reflect upon this statement, shared at a retreat led by Marlene Denardo, and I think about who I was yesterday, a year ago, five years ago, and at age 20. I think it’s difficult, maybe impossible, to know your true self at any one point in life…but now I am mom and it’s harder than ever! As a mom is there even still a self? It’s not a very glamorous job and it doesn’t come with fringe benefits or employee appreciation lunches. These days my lunches consist of left-over hotdog bites and half-eaten yogurt. But I am a witness to the beautiful lives unfolding before me. And I am blessed. On the rare occasion when no one is screaming or fighting or crying, I can see God’s eyes in the eyes of my children…full of spark and life and light. Perhaps that is who I am supposed to be right now, a witness to the lives before me filled with energy, and love, and laughter.
I often like to think about our Blessed Mother when I’m going about the mundane, everyday sorts of things of a mom. It brings me happiness to think Mary probably did many of the same mundane things I do every day. I wonder if she used to find renewed wonder in seeing every rock and flower through her Son’s eyes as she watched Him play. Did she wipe his nose continuously when He had a cold? I like to think she would rub her Son’s head as he fell asleep and perhaps kiss the multitude of boo boos He incurred. To me Mary, is a friend on this journey of motherhood, a mentor. She didn’t have to struggle with not being in the work place and “just at home” nor being back in tip top physical fitness to conform to today’s image of beauty and youth nor to be the uber-mom teaching her child multiplication and three languages by kindergarten. She was “just” a stay-at-home mom but I know everything she did, every word she spoke, was filled with grace and love. This amazes me, inspires me, and humbles me as a mom.
I also like to think about Mary our mother when I’m ready to rip my hair out. Her journey was so much more difficult and demanding not only because of the time in which she lived but because of the weighty importance of being chosen as the mother of Jesus, our Savior. Who knows, maybe she did get frustrated sometimes with her Son too. We definitely know she experienced joy, love, worry, and the deep painful sadness of watching her Son, her baby, suffer humiliation and excruciating brutality. I can’t even imagine experiencing this atrocity as a mom or being able to forgive all those who hurt Him but I know Mary did. I ask our Blessed Mother to pray for me every single day as a mom to have an ounce of her strength, patience, and awareness of the beauty of my children’s lives. I ask her to take my hand and remind me that I am a witness to this gift.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to remember and pray for all of the beautiful women who have deeply touched our lives: the moms, the grandmothers, the aunties, the sisters, the coaches, the teachers, and most importantly our mother, Mary.
Suzy went to UC Davis and pursued her teaching credential at NDNU. She enjoyed teaching at Notre Dame Elementary School, Belmont, for 10 years with “many wonderful Sisters and seasoned teachers.” She became an Associate three years ago to continue to stay immersed in the charism of St. Julie. Suzy lives in Half Moon Bay with her husband Jeremiah, son Aidan (10), and two daughters Jessie (2 1/2) and Grace (1) and is now a full time stay-at-home mom.
To honor your mother, or a mother figure in your life, consider a donation to the Sisters of Notre Dame. A card will be sent to the person you designate.