Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
Artwork © by Jef Murray

I didn’t have a good excuse. No sudden death, news of great tragedy, or personal fall-through. The clock just met 4:00, the kid of choice started with the customary late afternoon ranting, and it all unraveled from there.

Somehow, the everyday things – the weight of my worries, the onslaught of my duties, the trial of just getting through the rest of the day – were more than I could handle. A few timely smart-alec comments of the can’t-reply-in-charity variety; a fan that quit working so that, during said downpours none of the fans worked in my car and I was frantically wiping the windshield with a blankie-chewie Tigger; a potty battle I couldn’t win, even if I was feeling stubborn; stray dishes popping up after the teetering pile in the sink was left to dry; a whining dog and a barking toddler (yes, you read that right). I felt myself within shouting distance of crying or even sitting down in the middle of the grocery store to have a good kicking fit.

Then, on my drive home, I remembered that I hadn’t finished my rosary that morning. I felt myself calming down as I worked my way through the last four mysteries.

It was like someone was hugging me, holding me, comforting me. (There’s no doubt in my mind who that was.) My head was in her lap just as completely as the toddler’s head was in mine earlier that afternoon (right before I noticed the molar – feeling a bit guilty for wanting to strangle her).

Part of me wants to be pretty sure Mary didn’t have days like this. But then, I don’t know.

Blessed Virgin Mary with Jesus

Blessed Virgin Mary with Jesus

Could it be that days like this are just part of the human condition? Could it be that Screwtape and his band of tempters are hard at work to make perfectly good days look like days like this, just to get us to slip up, maybe strangle our kid (oh, I came so close!) or yell at our spouse or take a step back away from God? And you know, once you’ve taken that first step, however small, what’s another one?

And really, who needs God and all his restrictions anyway? Who needs the laws and the parameters and all that hooey?

Days like this are a big flashing neon reminder to me that I do! Say what you will about recited prayers; nothing but a good long hug from Mom would have made anything better at that point in my day. My mind was skittering from worry to worry, and there was no slowing it down and reasoning with it, until Mother Mary started stroking my temple.

Yes, Mary had days like this. Don’t we all?

The difference, I think, is how we approach them. I don’t think Mary actually entertained thoughts of strangling her toddler, of smacking her grade schooler, of hiding from her I-have-to-touch-you-ALL-DAY-LONG kindergartner. I suspect she didn’t want to throw the phone across the room after hearing about the woes and pains of old age or the drama within a family circle.

I don’t need to look very far to see what Mary’s reaction to a day like this is. In fact, I found it when I turned to her.

She led me right to Jesus.

Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom and author whose nose is probably in a book if she’s not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Check out all of her books at

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