When my husband was in seminary he studied (for some unknown reason) child development. One of the things he learned is that until a child is approximately 16-18 months old he does not know himself apart from his mother. His mother is not “other” but rather an extension of himself.
When he told me that it totally made sense. I spend all day attached to my babies, nursing them, attending to their every little whimper. Yet, the first word they learn to say is Daddy! What?! He’s not up at 2am giving you that life milk! In fact, as the babies grow and have more self-awareness and other-awareness we ask them, “Where’s Daddy?” “Where’s big sister?” “Where’s Nana?” and so on. My baby right now who is 14 months can point out everyone in the family…except me. When we say “Where’s Mommy?” He looks around the room rather confused and doesn’t know where to point. My 2 year old has only recently grown out of pointing to himself (HIMSELF!) when asked, “Where’s Mom?” Likewise he would point to me if we said, “Where’s River?”
This got me to thinking recently, if Jesus was fully human (as well as fully divine) was he the same as other human babies? Did he find his awareness in his mother for the first year or two of life? And if so, wouldn’t Mary have had to be one amazing person? I can understand how she would have to have been immaculately conceived and pure herself. How could the Son of God find His identity and awareness in someone with Original Sin? I mean, the Prince of Peace himself would have to find peace itself in His mother! My mind reels.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.