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anne_mikolay_2012_120While Mother's Day celebrates the joys of motherhood (and for me there are many, as I am blessed with two terrific sons), it is often mixed with sadness; I can no longer tell my mother face-to-face how much she means to me. She passed away twenty years ago after a long illness.

As I go about the daily tasks of living, my mother is always on my mind. If I see Yankee Doodles or grape jelly on the shelf in the grocery store, I envision her enjoying the little cakes with a cup of Lipton tea or making me jelly sandwiches on summer afternoons, and I smile. When I iron, I remember her teaching me to press my dad's big, white handkerchiefs and fold them just so when I was a little girl. Each morning, when I feed the backyard birds, I recall happily watching sparrows gather as my mother tossed stale bread crusts into the yard. In the evening as I wash the dishes, I sing the same songs my mother did, and every now and then, when I look down at my hands, I swear I see hers. In fact, the older I get, the more I see my mother's reflection looking back at me in the mirror. My mother was an amazing woman, who taught me to live, love, laugh, and pray. One of her favorite prayers was from the Jewish faith, words I recite on Mother's Day in her memory...words I share with you now.

Jewish Prayer for a Mother

I remember thee in this solemn hour, my dear mother. I remember the days when you did dwell on earth, and your tender love did watch over me like a guardian angel. You are gone from me but the bond which unites our souls can never be severed. Your image lives within my heart and is always with me. I pray our merciful Father to reward you for the faithfulness and kindness you always showed me. May He lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you eternal peace.

If your beloved mother, like my own, is no longer with you, and your Mother's Day is thus colored by twinges of sorrow, remember the deep truth of motherhood. A mother is not merely someone who gave birth. A true mother embraces this most reverent purpose with open arms; her heart is always and forever with her children. And that's why I smile when I see Yankee Doodles or grape jelly or sparrows flocking to the feeders. I know my mother is still with me, sadly not face-to-face, but most definitely heart-to-heart.

Happy Mother's Day, Mommy.