(I wrote this back in May, as you might suspect, but I thought ya’all might enjoy it.)

With May comes the strong assurance of spring; the snowing nonsense is over, and the flowers are in full bloom. With the eruption of color in our yards, I can’t help but remember that special event of May Crowning. May Crowning, as you know, is a ritual that honors Mary in a way that, as a mother, I now better understand—by bringing her flowers.

My little daughter has just started trying to pick flowers, and her first reaction after having them in her hand and then sniffing them is to hand them to me. I have thought about this a great deal, because although it seems like such a simple gesture, it really is at the heart of how we are to act as we model Mary our mother.

My daughter hands me the dandelion or tulip because she needs someone else to hold it, and I’m right there. She also hands it to me because it’s pretty, and she wants to share it with me. In effect, her action means, “Look, Mommy, at this wonderful discovery I’ve made! Share the joy of it with me!” How can I stop myself from smiling, and then from treasuring the flower? There is quite a stash of wilted dandelions and decaying tulips throughout my house, I assure you!

When we go to our Blessed Mother with our joys, which would be like the flowers my daughter brings to me, she too must feel this maternal love and joy. She must tuck them away, to look at later, to nurture, to remember, just as I put handfuls of dandelions and tulips into jars of water by the window in my kitchen. Three days later, when they are only a memory of their former glory, they mean nothing less to me.

What must it be for us to take our concerns to Mary, for us to bare our hearts and share our hurts with her? Just as my daughter has gotten mobile enough to share her discoveries with me, she has also encountered some quite painful lessons, especially with gravity. Not so long ago, she fell and got quite a shiner out of the experience. Her first reaction, whether it’s a smashed finger or a black eye, is to come to me, her mother. As I cradle her and feel the soft weight of her head on my shoulder and listen to the heart-wrenching sound of her cries, I’m often struck by the simplicity of our needs as humans. So many times, all we need is someone to hug us, to hold us, to comfort us. Who better for this task than our Mother Mary?

I have experienced the hug of Mary many times in the last few years since I have been Catholic. There have been times when I throw my hands up and think it’s given up for lost, and then, having given up on my own abilities, I feel the calming presence of peace, the comfort of a hug given to me. Sometimes all I can do is to pray a “Hail Mary” and lay my head down.

How, then, must Mary hold us, take our concerns upon herself when we take them to her, and feel our trials with us? It is comforting to know that the Immaculate Heart of Mary waits for us, that the love of our Blessed Mother is unconditional, and that we can always turn to her as our path to Jesus.