Made-a-Move # 18
Every year there is always the question of ‘What to get Mom for mother’s day?’ Another craft book of things I would love to do if I had time that maybe she could find time for…?… flowers, again…? Treats that will be enjoyed, but gone as fast as an empty sink gets refilled with dirty dishes ..?.. I know how about I stand up in front of a room full of over a hundred people (most of whom I don’t know) and tell them what a great mom she is
Ok, it was a week early and wasn’t really for Mother’s day. But I did do the speech. How many people get the opportunity to use a microphone to tell their mom how great she is?! Moms do so much to contribute to the successes of, and make a positive impact on, so many people’s lives. Some more visibly than others. Each in their own, unique, way. So, in celebration of my mom’s ways, here is most of the speech I said at a luncheon she was being honored at yesterday as a “Woman of Achievement” for her many years of contributions to her Synagogue:
When my mother first told me about the event, in her humble way, she was hoping at least I and a couple of my girls would come. Like so many others who are here because she is being honored, my whole family is here today. And, my brother, who lives in Germany and cannot be here today sends his warmest wishes and lots of love. Who is Honored? The question is asked and answered by Ben Zoma in Pirkei Avos (4:1) He who honors others.
Everyone who meets my mom sees how respectful she is of others. She is ready to help others, but always in a quiet, unassuming and supportive way. Rather than jumping in and taking over, she waits for direction of how and where they want her help.
When our first child was born, my mom came to help us. As eager as she was to meet her new granddaughter, she waited (on our request) until we came home from the hospital and were settled before she came to St Paul. Mom was there to help any way we let her, but managed to not step on toes as the nervous new parents insisted on changing all of the diapers and bathing the tiny baby themselves those first few days.
And when my husband reluctantly went back to work when the baby was 5 days old, Mom was there to help her crazy daughter surprise him by bringing the baby to his work so he could show her off to his co-workers.
While my mom keeps herself busy with exercise to take care of herself, activities with friends, working as a substitute (including being a very much loved Morah at her grandson’s preschool) and volunteering at her synagogue in so many ways, she clearly lets us know that she is always here for us when we need her. Both for sharing life’s challenges and for sharing our accomplishments and simchas [joyous occassions].
She has mastered the balance (that seems to allude me) of taking care of herself, giving of herself, recognizing her limits, and maintaining the ability to help others in their time of need. From driving across town to take an ill grandchild home from school in the middle of the day, to helping her daughter with a big fundraising event. Without ridicule, and always with a loving smile. Albeit sometimes a tired one.
Honoring Parents is such a major mitzvah [Jewish commandment] that it is included in the 10 Commandments. How can I give honor to my mom? It says in the Torah that the way to know if a tree is good is by looking at its fruit. So, I think it is, in part, by leading a life by her examples of how to treat others and making sure the fruits of her labor are sweet. I think that is what the concept of “nachas” [mixed feeling of pride and joy] is all about. Tasting the sweet fruits of your labor – seeing the growth and successes that stem from your efforts – be it the success of the Sisterhood activities she takes part in, or of the children and grandchildren she had a hand in bringing into this world and nurturing.
I’ve always been uncomfortable with receiving compliments – except for one. Over the years, whenever anyone told me I was like my mom in some way, I always took that as a compliment. She is one of the strongest people I know. Like everyone, she has her own set of challenges in life – but she has the fortitude to control her reactions to those challenges and go on to enjoy life, greet everyone with kindness, and be there for others.
We love you, Mom, and I am still growing up trying to be more like you.
Mazel tov to you on receiving this much deserved honor, and thank you for inviting me to be a part of this very special event. May you continue to be blessed with health and strength, love and respect from family and friends, and nachas from your children and grandchildren.