When I was on the bus home the other day, I watched a young mother struggle on with a pushchair and a young child hanging from her arm. Luckily, a kind person came to her rescue and entertained the little ones whilst the girl paid for the tickets. As I observed the young woman, I saw how busy and worn out she looked, but also saw the time and patience she gave to her demanding children. It reminded me of when I was waiting for the airport train in Barcelona a few weeks ago. I was again struck in awe by both the youth of the parent and utter love they gave to their precious child. Both parents must have been younger than me and at 21, I’m always amazed by young parents. My cousin had a child with his girlfriend when he was 18 and she was just 17. Now I’m older I wonder how on earth I would’ve been able to do the same with so much care and generosity.

It’s said that once you have a child, any thought of putting your own needs first goes out of the window. Complete giveness to another, must come first to raise a child and meet their demands for love and affection. I think that is what I observed in these young parents. Love that is completely giving of oneself to another. This instinct to give and stand by your children must be innate. No matter what a child does, they will always be your own. And that is a powerful responsibility that sadly not all parents manage to cope with – giving up our own needs and putting others first is not easy. The demand to stand in solidarity with our loved ones is what we are called to do.

Who do you stand by?