At birth, I weighed a hearty 9 lbs. 11 oz., and my mom, Judy, to this day insists labor with me wasn't "that bad." My mother was the one who instilled in me a love for all things Jewish. As a child, I used to say that if I were ever lost, I'd listen for her laughter and it would lead me to her every time -- and that still holds true today. Indeed, Judy is one-of-a-kind.
With Mother's Day just around the corner, I encourage you to give thanks for your mom, living or not, and think about what makes her special to you. Here are some reasons my mom is special to me:
She taught me how to sing scales and do demi plies.
She ingrained in me that you "catch more bees with honey," and that extra boxes of Swiss Miss cocoa and Kleenex should always fill your cupboards.
She rips out articles for me on topics about American presidents, Israeli society, meringue cookies, and the newest trend in spring dresses from The New York Times, The Forward, and Glamour -- in equal number.
She loves a rousing wedding hora more than anyone else I've ever met.
She was the first to tell me about Golda Meir, Shirley Temple, Sholem Aleichem, and Mary Tyler Moore.
She said she learned what "sexy" was when she first saw Elvis on TV as a little girl, and then again years later when she first laid eyes on my dad, the love of her life.
She doesn't like to talk about the weather -- even though she lives in Minnesota.
She taught me to care about the big things, and not to sweat the petty stuff.
She showed me how to make cherry soup, noodle kugel, lamb chops with mint jelly, and rocky road brownies.
She'll sing "Wheels on the Bus" to babies on a continual loop if it'll keep `em smiling.
She laughs easily.
She's the only person I know who could chat with me for hours about my homework from my Jewish studies grad school program. Eighteenth century Jewish Age of Enlightenment? "Yes, Cindy, I'd love to talk about that with you," she'd tell me -- and actually mean it.
She helped create a Jewish children's prayer book.
She instilled in me a love of two countries -- Israel and America.
She cranks the car radio up.
She believes in social justice.
She battled and conquered a serious illness with strength, courage, and grace.
She sang Yiddish and American lullabies every night to my sister and me when we were little, and now sings them to her grandchildren.
She always let us eat our cake before our veggies because that's just how she rolls.
She wrote a play -- a love note to her late parents who escaped persecution and pogroms in Russia and immigrated to Ellis Island a century ago.
She's still asking why Facebook is a thing.
She passed down to me a love for words, and telling stories.
She's one of the few people who still leave me lengthy voicemails just to say "hi," and she mails me greeting cards just to tell me she loves me.
Have something nice to say about your mama? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what makes your mom so special to you. We hope to run some of the answers on our JUF Facebook page later this month.