This year, my choir sang “Still Her Little Child” for the Easter Vigil. Had I ever heard this song before I had Jack, I would have thought it very nice and probably been slightly touched. Now? I get choked up 4 out of 5 times and have to stop singing to compose myself. I can usually hold it together until we get to the third verse, but if the line “When they shouted, ‘Crucify Him!’/He was still her little child” doesn’t get me, the line “When she held his broken body/He was still her little child” does. I just can’t help imagining myself in Mary’s place, holding my baby’s broken body, and it’s all I can do not to break down and cry.
I guess this is the thing that people try to tell you about before you have a child, but they can’t explain it, this feeling of having a piece of yourself walking around in the world. I knew I would love Jack, of course, but I think that, until I heard the lyrics to this song, I didn’t fully realize that I would love him this much – this much and more – forever and ever.
A few months ago, I took Jack to the playground. I let him loose, and he ran after the pigeons in utter delight, stopping only occasionally to see where I was. The feeling of pride I had while watching him fearlessly explore the world so independently was so strong it was almost tangible, and I was shocked by the power of it. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I have one or two fairly impressive accomplishments under my belt, yet I have never felt as proud of myself as I did of him at that moment when all he was doing was running across the playground all by himself.
With all of these new and profound feelings has come a better understanding of God’s love for us and of Mary’s sacrifice as well as her son’s. Until having my own baby, I didn’t really know what it meant that God had given us his son. I still don’t really understand now that I am a parent, but I think I am a tiny bit closer to the truth of it, and this understanding is like a bonus gift from God on top of the astonishing gift that is Jack himself.
I hope everyone had a Happy Easter. I definitely did.