I was talking with a friend from New Orleans the other day. Before she became a widow she was a pastor's wife. We were chatting about the things women our age talk about -- men and babies (and no, that's not always a redundant pairing) and the gifts we ought to get (read: deserve) for Mother's Day.
"Can you imagine being the Mother of Jesus? What an honor," my girlfriend said breathlessly. "I would have loved to have been the Mother of Jesus."
"Uh," I interrupted my girlfriend. "You do know how he died, right?"
"What?" she asked. She was totally thrown out of her moment of self-induced rapture, the kind I only experience when eating a crème-filled donut from Golden's in my hometown of Columbus. Krispy Kreme doesn't even come close to Golden's, and I mostly don't even like donuts. I make an exception for Golden's. Why they aren't a national chain is beyond me.
"I'm just saying I wouldn't have wanted to be Jesus's mother," I said.
"Really?" my girlfriend replied. "You wouldn't have wanted to be the one chosen to bear God's only son?"
"Oh, Lord, no," I replied. "Can you imagine trying to discipline that boy? Every time you go to tell him no about something he'd come back with 'You aren't my real God. You can't tell me what to do!'"
My girlfriend didn't know whether to laugh or genuflect.
"Seriously," I said. "Jesus would have been a mother's worst nightmare. Can you imagine raising a child who learned to walk on water without the aid of water wings?"
"You do have a different way of looking at things, Karen," she said. I'm pretty sure my girlfriend didn't mean that as a compliment.
"Well, you tell me -- would you have used a wooden spoon or hairbrush on Jesus? Really? With God looking down over your shoulder, breathing down your neck the entire time? And what good would a timeout do him? Jesus would have simply gone to the corner and whined to his father about me."
My girlfriend was so discombobulated she would have been chewing on the telephone cord if cell phones had curly cords. Instead, she could only work in a "Well," or a long sigh every now and then as I continued my rant on being the mother of Jesus.
"I'd rather spawn salmon upstream. Boys are hard enough to raise. By the time they turn twelve they already think they know more than God himself.
"And imagine dealing with Jesus in junior high. Lemme tell you -- that turning the other check stuff does not work with junior high kids. They will tear your heart out and flush it down the bathroom toilet. They don't care if you are the Son of God and Taylor Swift. Jesus would have been beaten and cursed and bullied every single day of seventh grade! Uh-uh. No. Thank. You. I would not want to be the Mother of Jesus, not for all of the wine in San Francisco, which I would need if I were Mary."
My girlfriend had either passed out or fallen asleep. She was totally speechless.
"Oh! And if Jesus survived junior high, what a nightmare he'd be in high school! Remember how he did his momma when he went off to the Temple and him just a kid? Told her he was busy about his father's business, after she'd spent days in a frantic search for him.
"Just try raising a high-school student these days who doesn't care about sports, dating, the latest bands, reality TV, or getting a college education. Somebody would be hauling Jesus's butt into the counseling office every week, and dragging his momma along with him. I bet they would have pegged him with some gender-identity issue and blamed his momma for that, too.
"And imagine the chaos that would ensue the minute she started in with that 'God is my baby's daddy' bit? Lord. No. I would not have wanted to be Mary, not for all the diamonds in Africa, or all the rubies in heaven.
"I've had a hard enough time raising children with a man who is my equal. I certainly don't want to be having babies with somebody who can Lord himself over me all the time. Uh-huh. That job takes a better woman than me."
"Well," my girlfriend said, sheepishly. "I best go now. You have yourself a Happy Mother's Day."
"You, too, sweetie," I said. "Being a mother is the best thing I ever did with my life. It's a lot of work but it sure made a praying woman outta me. Happy Momma's Day!"
Karen Spears Zacharias, a Columbus native and former Ledger-Enquirer staff writer, is author of the upcoming novel "Mother of Rain," to be published this fall by Mercer University Press; www.karenzach.com.