Yesterday was not the greatest day.Â I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say that it was one of those days when you can’t help but feel that raisingÂ young kids + working outside the home = a one-way ticket to Looneyland.Â In a nutshell, I’m having a really, really hard time juggling it all.
So what did I do?Â Rather than eating my way through an entire box of Godiva chocolates, I got smart.Â Â After I put the boys down to bed, I lit two candles in front of the icon of Theotokos and sat on the couch and prayed the rosary.Â It was this scene, but in the dark, with flickering candles:
I may lose my Mary credentials for saying this, but I don’t pray the rosary regularly.Â It’s more my “go-to prayer” in stressful times.Â And it was perfect last night.Â As always, while I prayed, certain thoughts and worries swirled to the surface of my consciousness.Â I skimmed them off and set them aside — for future reflection in some cases, or rejection in others.Â It felt like a spiritual cleansing.Â And as I kept working my way around that lifeline of beads, my breathing slowed, and my heart slowed, and my words slowed.Â In the flickering candlelight, Jesus and Mary looked almost alive.
And I had a sudden realization: the short bookcase on which the icon stands is a bookcase that belonged to my grandparents.Â It was always in their living room when I was growing up.Â I thought about how I once saw a black-and-white photo of them as young newlyweds, circa 1940, and I recognized that very bookcase in the background.Â And as I said my Hail Marys, I thought of my grandparents, and howÂ amazing it is that my boys stack trains on this very bookshelf, and how much my grandparents would have adored Matthew and Lukey, and how much my grandma — a big Mary fan — would have been delighted beyond measure to see me inviting Mary into my stress and icks.Â And that made me happy, there in the candlelit darkness.
I haven’t figured it all out, this crazed circus act of working motherhood. Â I’m probably going to be a stress-mess until June.Â But last night was a pretty beautiful thing, that little period of calm, that reminder that I’ve got Mary and Jesus — and Grandma and Grandpa — squarely in my corner.