I came across this gorgeous Madonna and Child recently. Â It’s by William Dyce, a Scottish artist of the early nineteenth century.
There’s something so powerful about a picture of Mary holding the baby Jesus. The Catholic writer Andrew Greeley once explained that this is such an irresistible image because it recalls the love that God has for us, a warm, unconditional love that never ends. Â For my part, I find that these images make me think back to the babyhood of my own boys. Â There was something so beautiful about those days, Â when they were small and not mobile and content to stay happily in my lap. Â I have a vivid memory of feeding Matthew one evening when he was a few months old, and he fell asleep in my arms and I looked at his peaceful little face and thought about how I wanted to freeze time, just make it stop right then and there. Â In that moment, the cup of my happiness was totally full.
It’s hard to snuggle with the boys now. Â They are bigger and more independent, and I know they’ll just continue on that trajectory until the day when they are surly teenagers surrounded by a large bubble of personal space into which embarrassing Mom is not allowed to enter. Â But even then, I’ll have the memory of them as they were when they were babies, the softness and the warmth and the sweet, Â perfect weight of them. A mother’s arms just don’t forget.