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Hey Jude...

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I Love You Too, Mom photo

With my mom's birthday a few days away, and Mother's Day soon after that, I was thinking about how sometimes I forget to tell my mom how much I love her and how lucky I am to be her daughter. As a kid I used to say that if I were ever lost, I'd listen for her laughter and it'd lead me to her every time—and that's still true today. My mom isn't like anyone I've ever met. She's Judy.

Hey Jude... photo

She taught me how to sing scales and do demi plies.

She calls me Cindeleh.

She insists that labor with me—a 9 lb. 11 oz. bundle of joy—wasn't "too bad."

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, merengue cookies, and the newest trend in spring dresses from The Wall Street JournalThe 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, a notion that was reinforced for her when she later saw John Travolta in Welcome Back, Kotter—and then once again when she first laid eyes on my dad, the real love of her life.

She doesn't like to talk about the weather.

She taught me to care about the big stuff, and not to sweat the petty stuff.

She showed me how to make cherry soup, lamb chops with mint jelly, smoked salmon pasta, and rocky road brownies.

She'll sing "Wheels on the Bus" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to her 3-year-old grandson for hours if it'll keep him smiling.

She laughs easily.

She helped create a children's siddur.

She instilled in me a love for our two countries—Israel and America.

She turns the car radio up.

She believes in social justice.

She battled and conquered a serious illness with strength, courage, and grace when I was a girl.

She sang Yiddish and American lullabies every night to my sister and me when we were little and now sings them to my nephews.

She always let us eat our cake before our carrots because that's just how she rolls.

She wrote a play as a love note to her parents who came to Ellis Island from Russia nearly a century ago.

She's still asking me why Facebook is a thing.

She's generous with her hugs.

She's a hottie.

She passed down to me a love for words, and for telling stories.

She taught me that Yiddish has no word for weapon.

She sends me cards in the mail and leaves me voicemails, both simply to tell me how much she loves me.

I love you too Mom. Happy birthday and Mother's Day!

For more posts in the “I Love You Too, Mom” series, go here.

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