I love my kids. A lot.

I realize each one is such a special individual. One has a great, sunny disposition; nothing can get her down. Another has a great deal of sensitivity and behaves with such consideration to those around her, while another is a deeply profound thinker who adds such interesting insights to every discussion.

But, every once in a while, I get so caught up in the minutiae of the day to day, with the busyness and monotony of life that I forget just how special each one is. And just how much I love being their mother.

It's not that I actually forget. It's just simply not at the forefront of my thoughts. Instead, I'm consumed with what each one needs, demands, and wants.

In such moments, it's great to get a reminder. It can be in the form of a friend who may tell me in passing about a small favor one of my children did, and how touched she was. Or a grandparent who might reiterate how precocious or perceptive another one is. Or a teacher who calls up and shares what happened in the classroom and reminds me about how unusually kind and gentle my child is.

And as I hear these comments, I listen with a growing sense of pride. Long after I've hung up the phone, I find myself still wearing a huge smile on my face. From ear to ear.

It's not that I've been told any novel revelation. But, still, it brings to the forefront what I intuitively know is the essential truth, no matter what my children's behavior may be on any given day.

As our year draws to a close and we approach the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, we ask our Father to once again renew our relationship with Him.

I know G‑d doesn't need any "reminders" about the essential value of His children. But, nevertheless, I thought He might appreciate a few snapshots of the year in review, from my small perspective.

This past year, I've been fortunate to meet many treasured Jewish souls around the world in all different kinds of communities, far and near, big and small. Some live in thriving Jewish communities where their Jewish commitments and lifestyle is obvious, while others are much less so.

Here are just a few of the precious memories that come to mind.

  • The lovely couple in the Hague who came from such diverse backgrounds to embrace Judaism and, despite the disparaging comments directed at them, teach others the beauty of having a large Jewish family.
  • Esther, the Cincinnati mother who prayed so hard for her daughter to marry a Jew.
  • The countless letters we received here at chabad.org after the horrible Mumbai tragedy… The woman who wrote, "I am resuming lighting Shabbat candles after a long absence. We must not let darkness fill the world." Or the man who wrote, "I decided that in memory of the slain Jews I would begin to put on tefillin at least once, if not more ,every week, to spread the light of our faith. "
  • The little girl who, with such utter happiness, simplicity and joy, held the synagogue door open for me one Shabbat morning.
  • The religious man in Heathrow Airport who was picking up his family but noticed me—a complete stranger—becoming very anxious when my arranged ride had still not arrived. Kindly, he offered to drive me, together with his family, to where I was staying—even though it was completely out of his way.
  • Shirley, the ninety-year-old woman in Bakersfield, California, who wrote two books and is an active volunteer lecturer. She humbled me with her questions, and especially with her quest for continuous growth.
  • My twenty-year-old son who, one very early morning last week, arrived home from out of town after a thirteen hour bus ride, and remained locked outside on our porch for over two hours until someone opened our front door, because he refused to knock and possibly wake up his parents.
  • The twelve and thirteen-year-old girls who gathered at their rabbi's home for a Friday night Shabbat dinner in Manchester, England, and who, with their questions, demonstrated that they truly wanted to understand the meaning of being Jewish.
  • The many Chabad emissaries I met throughout the world, living in such far-flung places and who tell me about how privileged they feel to live where they do and reach out to one more Jewish soul. As one emissary told me so poignantly, "I only cried once. It was when we sent away our eldest son, at a tender age, to study in a Jewish school, and I saw my wife with tears flowing, so pained by the separation. She was crying about sending her son so far from us, because she is living here just in order to enable the local children who are far from their Judaism to come closer. "

The memories are flooding in. There are so many. Each one is just a small snapshot. Some are simple acts, while others, more profound. Some involve just one or a few individuals; others, have a ripple effect felt by many.

But all of these snapshots join many more, and together form a beautiful collage that portrays a tiny glimmer of the whole picture of just what the Jewish soul is all about.

So, as our year draws to a close and with a new one fast approaching, I know, G‑d, You surely don't need my pithy "reminders" in order to want to reestablish Your special bond with the precious Jewish soul.

But still, I figure, as you read, You surely must be smiling. From ear to ear.