Tomorrow is the day that we traditionally celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary. Tradition tells is that Mary was born to Joachim and Anne, a holy couple who had not yet been blessed with a child when she was conceived in their old age. She was said to have been dedicated at a young age to the temple in thanksgiving for her birth. This is also used by some to explain Mary's perpetual virginity--that she had been dedicated and promised to God for life at a young age.
Each year at this time, I fondly remember a story in my second grade reader, just before all things Catholic disappeared from my school. In the story, a boy comes home from school to find his mother baking a cake. (I'll never forget it. It was layered, round and pink.) Puzzled, the boy wonders whose birthday it is. The mother confesses that it is not the birthday of anyone in their family, but of the Virgin Mary. At dinner, they sing happy birthday to Our Lady and eat the cake. After dinner, they say the Rosary as a family.
That always made me a bit nostalgic for that type of unapologetic family Catholicism, even at the time.
The story of Mary's birth, like many in Scripture, shows us how precious each life is and what a gift each child is to his or her family. Children grow up so fast, and the window of opportunity is so short.
Happy Birthday to our Blessed Mother!