People are all about being thankful this time of year. So, in lieu of Thanksgiving approaching, I want to thank my mom. I could seriously spend a lifetime thanking my mom. No, really, I could!
I could thank my mom for always putting me first as a single mother. I could thank her for encouraging me to follow my passion of horseback riding and being my cheerleader at every competition. I could thank her for my love (borderline obsession) with chocolate. I could go on and on, but it would sound too cliche. Every mother knows they gave their child the gift of life, right?
Instead I will thank my mom for doing something profound–showing unconditional love and acceptance as her Christian daughter embraces Judaism:
Thank you for seeing my interfaith marriage as a strength, not a weakness. You were beyond excited about the breaking of the glass, the Hora, and the ketubah signing at our wedding. I know it broke your heart silently that I wasn’t married in a church as generations before me did.
Thank you for looking forward to lighting the menorah with us. I know a nativity is your favorite decoration this time of year but now you are always the first person to make sure the correct number of lights are lit.
Thank you for supporting our son’s bris. Although our family heirloom christening gown did not get used, and there were no drops of water over our tiny son’s head, you were beaming with pride, and told the mohel the ceremony was so beautiful. Finding Star of David sprinkles for your homemade rainbow cookies was pretty impressive as well.
Thank you for attending Shabbat services with us. I know the language is different and the songs unfamiliar but your presence is powerful. I secretly love buying you a ticket for High Holiday services. I bet you never thought you would be attending services at a temple after all those years of driving me to Sunday School.
Many parents would take it personally that their child chose to embrace a different religion and a different life. They might think they failed as a parent or that their child is deliberately trying to hurt them. Not my mom. She gave me life, so I could live it.