In a recent item posted by Rabbi Jack Riemer, he was talking about open adoptions which may provide an interesting topic for a future adult education forum. He included a poem in his discussion which I want to share with you in honor of Mother’s Day.
“Once there were two women
Who never knew each other;
One you do not remember,
The other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life,
The second taught you how to live it.
The first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.
One gave you up—it was all that she could do,
The other prayed for a child–
And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears,
The age-old question through the years,
Heredity or environment—
Which are you a product of?
Neither my darling—neither
Just two different kinds of love.”
(The poem is taken from a book called “Serenaid: A Triumph of Love”, published by the Williams Publishing Company of Palm Springs, California).
When I read this poem, I couldn’t help but think of the very special love that a mother provides for a child. I hope that despite the differences that some of us may have had or may continue to have with our mothers, that Mother’s Day on Sunday will provide us with an opportunity to thank our moms for the various ways in which they expressed or express their love for us. I was recently officiating at a funeral where I remembered a phrase which my mom used when she said good bye to me on the phone. She would say “so long” instead of “good bye” or “bye bye.” As I reflected on the life of the woman who had died, I remembered my mother’s words and realized that “so long” as I am alive I will be grateful to her for all the love she gave me and the sacrifices she made for me. I wish I could tell her that even though she died almost 11 years ago which seems like “so long” ago, I think of her every day. The love with which she nurtured me for “so long” and which seems “so long” ago, has inspired me to be able to “hopefully” provide meaningful love for my wife and our children and “hopefully” has helped me provide nurturing and care for many of you throughout the years. Please take time on Sunday to wish your mom, your grandma, your aunt, your sister, and any woman who has shared or shares a special love with you, a Happy Mother’s Day and say thanks. It seems like “so long” ago that I could say thanks to my mom and I hope she somehow is aware of my appreciation and love for her.
Rabbi Bruce Aft
GMU Hillel Rabbinic Advisor