I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.
There is a good reason why moms hold a special place in our hearts. Mom’s love unconditionally, help keep us healthy, teach us lessons/values, support and sustain us emotionally, lift us up when we need it most, and are (forever) our number one fan! Although Mother’s Day is not a Jewish holiday, the Torah tells us to honor our mothers at all times. A mother’s commitment and devotion are, often, the foundation of the family. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day we honor and celebrate our mothers/step-mothers/foster mothers/grandmothers/bubbes.
In my last Touch Points I talked about celebrating Earth Day every day. Now, with Mother’s Day around the corner, my message is similar; every day should be a day we celebrate and show appreciation for our mothers. If you are lucky, like me, to have a wonderful mom, it is difficult to adequately find the words to say thank you for the countless blessings she provides. Thank you Mom- I love you more than words can say! In addition, many of us are also blessed with other types of motherly love. Blessings overflow when you add the love of grandmothers, a mothers-in-law, and cherished aunts. (I am biased, but I have the best!) Being surrounded by motherly devotion, passion and commitment, is a recipe for unparalleled love and guidance. One might even call it winning the “Motherly Trifecta!” So, this Sunday, find a way to celebrate and honor your mother, and also remember and honor her every day.
“Who needs superheroes when I have Mom?” -unknown
1. Did you Know we Have a Jewish Mother’s Day? – On our Jewish calendar, the 11th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan commemorates the passing of our matriarch Rachel. This is a lesser known holiday, and is thought of a Jewish Mother’s Day (of sorts). Click here to read this interesting article from Rabbi Judy Chessin. She discusses the holiday and why Rachel was chosen as the “quintessential Jewish mother.” https://daytonjewishobserver.org/2011/06/celebrate-mothers-day-the-jewish-way/
2. Remember Special Motherly Memories and Feelings- Mental imagery and visualization are powerful tools that can improve mood and support positive mental health. So, since moms often bring us many blessings and joy, let’s pause for a moment and remember a cherished motherly memory that brings you happiness. Breathe deeply and close your eyes. Think of the beautiful motherly love that surrounded you in any way. Even if that person/or people are no longer alive and not here with us physically, visualize them in your mind, and picture them surrounding you with glittering love. Fill your heart with their glowing presence; feel their deep love. Motherly love and positive images can be healing and boost positivity.
3. Motherly Wisdom- A mom has a way of saying things- often imparting wisdom (when you want it, and sometimes when you don’t) through idioms and expressions. Below are a list of what Rabbi Avis Miller calls “ Momilies,” and my own Mom’s “Momilies” follow. What “Momilies” did you hear growing up? I bet you have your own! Think of them and smile.
- You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.
- Never go out of the house without lipstick. You never know whom you’ll meet.
- When you praise yourself, it stinks; when relatives praise you, it limps; when strangers praise you it sounds great.
- You can’t put your head on their shoulders.
- If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.
- Tomorrow, tomorrow just not today—that’s what all the lazy folks say.
- Too much is unhealthy.
- What will people think?!
- It’s either feast or famine.
These are a few of my Mom Arlene’s favorite “Momilies.” I have learned from them, take them to heart and repeat them to myself and to my children. My Mom has been and continues to be a wonderful teacher, guiding force, listener and friend.
- “There is always light at the end of the tunnel.”- I am SO grateful for this Momilie! Even in the darkness, look toward the light and keep hope in your heart. This has helped propel me through difficult times, and is a wonderful lesson for life.
- “It’s never greener on the other side.” My Mom took this one step in the Jewish direction and kind of “Yiddish-ized” it by saying, “You don’t want what ‘Yenim’ has.” …I have often wondered- who the heck is Yenim anyway?!? Is this even a name? Well, Yenim or no Yenim… this is another wonderful lesson: remain happy with what you have.
4. Mothers Teach, By Showing- A wanted to share a sweet story about my wonderful Mother-in-law, Judy. Many moons ago when my husband, Adam, and I were dating, I met his parents for the first time. It was a big deal; his parents flew in from Arizona and met us in Chicago, where Adam was living. During the visit, they wanted to buy Adam a gift, so we went shopping on busy Michigan Avenue. While browsing around the Crate and Barrel store, I accidently walked backwards into an enormous, four-foot, cone-shaped display of 50+ glasses. Yes, you guessed it! The glasses promptly toppled to the ground with an enormous crash! I stood in the store, frozen and horrified, and turned about 50 shades of red. However, at that very moment, in the bustling store, my wonderful mother-in-law-to-be screamed, “MAZEL TOV!” She told me that as long as I wasn’t hurt, all was okay- “because only the display glasses were broken, not me.” Twenty four years later, we still laugh about this ridiculous, sweet memory. I will never forget this important lesson, her kindness, humor and warmth. Through their actions, moms show us what is really important. Thank you Mom!
“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a Mother.” -unknown
5. Get into the Mood with a Mother’s Day Movie or a Movie Marathon!- Trying to find a good Mother’s Day flick to watch? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Lady Bird– (2017 movie) Laurie Metcalf received a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for her performance as the Mother.
- Brave– (2012 movie) Much time is devoted to the mother- daughter relationship in this delightful movie. Click here for the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEHWDA_6e3M
- Mamma Mia– (2008 musical) There is a strong mother-daughter bond in this uplifting and fun musical. If you like the music of ABBA (I do! I do!), then you will enjoy this movie. Click here for the official trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCVpJ8x1Tnc
- Soul Food– (1997) Sisters gather on Sundays at Mother Joe’s.
- Little Women– (multiple versions made) The 1994 movie adaptation, is my favorite. Susan Sarandon plays the matriarch. Click here for the tailor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWn4h2YLxGA
- The Joy Luck Club– (1993) Based on the best selling novel by Amy Tan.
6. Try A Little Motherly Brain Health- Here are a few exercises to try. Try them by yourself, or see how many you can come up with together. How did you do?
- To celebrate mothers, name 20 of history’s greatest moms, and what made them great.
- Make a list of all the famous mothers you can think of.
- Want a challenge? How many of Hollywood’s famous mother and daughter actresses can you list? Extra points if any mothers and daughters were in the same film.
7. Watch a Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Conversation Starter”: Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s Education Director, Ellie Gettinger, had a conversation with Ellen Bravo about her organization, Family Values at Work, which has been working to create a paid sick leave for families. Ellen talks about her experience trying to balance work and children, and the challenges that working families face today. Women, both as mothers and daughters, face the brunt of maintaining Shalom Bayit (household peace) in times of sickness. Have you ever experienced this? What do families and mothers, especially, need to ensure that they are supported? Click here to watch this important conversation: https://youtu.be/YY8EsMQ4LAU
“All of us are guided by the most powerful of all the angles- our mother.” –unknown
I am sending love and my warmest wishes to all. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day, and I hope you feel loved and appreciated every day. As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org
Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,