Nu York, New York: Motherlode

Mothers Day has been a bittersweet holiday for me for several years, because my mother died in 1999. My mother's older sister, my aunt, died more than ten years ago as well. My maternal grandmother died when I was a toddler, and my paternal grandmother died in late 1992. But I do appreciate Mothers Day for a lot of reasons, and I am very, very happy to be the mother of two daughters. This year they are in 12th and 10th grade in high school, and it is also a bittersweet time because I know that my older daughter will soon be graduating from high school and heading to college. Motherhood can be overwhelming at times, emotional and challenging in many ways. It can also be a straight forward joy, a series of chores, and a chance to post photos of your children on social media. This Mothers Day 2018 my husband, daughters and I went out for lunch, at a restaurant we had not eaten in before. I ate a meal of stew cod fish with okra, cabbage and rice with beans. It was delicious. Even with the drizzly weather, we had a good time as a family unit. Mothers love to go out to eat, don't we? Sometimes I think about mothers of the past. They did not always have it easy. Mothers in the Torah faced (and did not always ace) a variety of scary challenges. Look at Rivkah; she did after giving birth to her second son. Leah had many sons and one daughter. Immense physical pain and the prospect of death during or after labor were ever present in the distant past (and in some parts of the world today, it is still a distinct possibility).    But if a woman did not have a child in the distant past, her role was far less powerful and defined than now. I happen to know many women who have never had a child and they lead fulfilling lives. Some probably wanted to have a child, but others did not. Their lives are not defined solely by their lack of childbearing, just as my life is not defined solely by having birthed and raised two children. Even in our fast-paced society full of myriad opportunities, I am still very glad that I have had children and that I am a mother (among other job titles). My daughters bring me a lot of joy, and I have enjoyed watching them grow. I marvel at their personalities and achievements. I get annoyed when they don't do all their school assignments and chores promptly. I share laughs with them throughout the day. Happy Mothers Day to all. Appreciate the relationships you have had.