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Counting blessings this Mother’s Day

My husband, James, and I brought our tiny newborn daughter, Paige Elizabeth, home from the hospital on Christmas Day. What a gift!

I never imagined that three short months after that sunny, cold winter morning – and mere weeks after returning to work from maternity leave – that the global coronavirus pandemic would have brought our always-on, fast-paced world to a grinding halt and that I’d be working from home with our infant daughter by my side, day in and day out, for what may turn out to be months on end.

Or that our family would worry about dear friends who are physicians serving on the frontlines of COVID-19 or mourn the loss of an uncle who succumbed to cancer after a battle that spanned nearly two decades.

Despite the grief our world is enduring and the unending onslaught of bleak news, which seems to become more grim each day, all I have to do is turn my gaze to Paige and my heart swells with a joy so profound that it’s indescribable and nearly overwhelming. Her broad smiles that make her eyes twinkle and contagious giggles fill our home and I momentarily forget the current state of our world.

Even the middle-of-the-night diaper changes or feedings are often met with ear-to-ear smiles from darling Paige and I count my blessings.

In a recent homily, Jesuit Father Hank Hilton, an associate professor emeritus of economics at Loyola University Maryland who currently serves as pastor of the Parish Community of St. Joseph in Hillsborough, N.J., reminded the faithful that while everything around us is being cancelled, God’s love for us is not.

“ … A lot of stuff is cancelled,” Father Hilton said. “What matters most isn’t: Jesus Christ’s true God and true man, loving you, knowing your name. … God’s love – totally not cancelled.”

That love found only in Christ Jesus is shining so brightly through Paige, reminding me each day to find the joy in and cherish each moment, no matter how mundane. The unexpected time that I have with her during this crisis is truly a gift from God.

As each day comes and goes, it seems very unlikely that on Mother’s Day this year, May 10, our family will attend Mass at our parish, St. Ignatius in Baltimore, and then head to brunch. Or, that in the near future we’ll pack a picnic on a beautiful spring day and head on over to Sherwood Gardens in north Baltimore. Nonetheless, I have faith that I’ll still find immeasurable joy this – my first – Mother’s Day, just in Paige’s presence.

She reminds me of life’s more simple pleasures that we so often take for granted: a smile, good health, the sensation of the warm sun on my skin and the ability to go for a run on a beautiful spring morning.

Mother’s Day is bound to be memorable, but not because of the global pandemic we’re all enduring. Rather, because of the immense gift that I have been given in our beautiful, healthy daughter.