Every day I pray a decade of the Rosary and reflect on the Annunciation as part of a perpetual Rosary. The wonderful thing about the Rosary, I have found, is that on any given mystery there’s no shortage of inspiring insights or reflections you can have.

The usual thing I reflect on is Mary’s YES to God. It wasn’t just a “yeah, OK, I guess.” It was an enthusiastic “OH YEAH, BRING IT ON” and in today’s environment would probably have a strong chorus of “We Will Rock You” in the background (OK, so I’m pushing this a bit, and if the theological police found me, they would likely beat me to a pulp!). She didn’t just say yes, she signed up for a lot with this agreement to be the Mother of God.

Today, I didn’t reflect on the usual “yes” line of thought. Today I thought of how Mary was a mother like me. Today I couldn’t help but ponder on the pain that motherhood engenders. Motherhood is a lot of sacrifice. Mary sacrificed her body, for one thing. She was always a virgin (according to Catholic teaching and Tradition). She went through the nine months of discomfort and gave birth in a stable. Then she had the sleepless nights, I’m sure (because he was the Messiah, yes, and he was also fully human!). They trekked to Egypt to escape Herod and his killing spree – and all this was without the comfort of four-wheel-suspension. They were on donkeys! No a/c, no heat, no creature comforts. All she had to go on was a promise from an angel. She had to know there was something special about her baby boy, and she had to know that even without the heads-up from Gabriel.

I struggle with my role as mother. It’s so easy to be the victim of your child’s needs, to make yourself subservient to their needs at the expense of your own. On the other hand, there’s the temptation to focus too much on the “me” time. What do you do? I think we all look to Mary, who is our role model. In the Annunciation she took on the mantle of motherhood without the benefit of being married or even of having those marital relations. She made a bigger commitment than I did, that’s for sure. Then she continued on, and she stood at the foot of the cross, being the mother even through the incredible pain.

Picture her at the empty tomb, and what joy that must have been! All the struggle, all the heartache, all the grief…suddenly it is all seen from a different perspective. What was her face like when Jesus ascended into heaven? And how wonderful to be filled with the Holy Spirit (again?) on Pentecost?

Yes, Mary’s had the experience of motherhood tribulations. And when I reflected on her “yes” this morning, and on her role as Mother of God, I realized that the joy is there for all of us.