I often turn to writing to provide me with an emotional catharsis, and I am certainly in need of one now.

When did they age? In my mind’s eye, I see them vital, powerful, strong. It had been 10 months since I had last visited. Now, I was shocked to see my parents, particularly my mother, looking fragile and vulnerable when I walked through the door, excited to spend Shabbat with them.

My maternal instincts immediatelyWhen did they age? went on high alert and homed in on her. I wanted to give to her, to preserve and swaddle her, halting the ravages of passing time and anchoring her in the present. I want—no, I need—my parents around forever.

Instead, I was the one wrapped in a cocoon of love. My mother’s deep, fierce, selfless, loyal, abiding, constant, unfathomable love that is my bedrock of security, and allows me to be strong and independent, was apparent in every detail: my favorite foods painstakingly prepared, the bathroom stocked with the toiletries I preferred, the nightstand with books I enjoy. She has my back and always has since the beginning of me—celebrating my successes and lifting me when I fell. I hear her wisdom whispering in my ear. I feel her love and her friendship, and know she is cheering me on even when I am not with her.

I looked at my reflection in the large well-lit mirror in the upstairs bathroom of my parents’ home. I was not the easiest daughter. I found frequent opportunity to grumble and complain, to withdraw and disagree in order to assert my independence. I succumbed to human nature, discarding what I had, seeking out something elusive, something better. Things that were familiar lost value as I looked down wider avenues, relishing the newness. Only in retrospect did I clearly see the beauty of the gifts I possessed.

My face is hers. I am hers. She is my foundation, my safe haven. I’ve always been made of her. Whatever other titles I acquire, I will forever be her daughter. It is as though we each have a piece of each other’s hearts in our own. It is in her heart that I started. She taught me how to reciprocate her love.

Song of Songs” describes the powerful love between the Jews and G‑d that thrives despite separation, distance andLove is not easy to put into words circumstances, and endures beyond this physical world. The female in the analogue says, “I am asleep, yet my heart is awake.”1 Nothing could illustrate this bond that comes naturally to women better than the love of a mother to her child.

Love is not easy to put into words, especially a mother’s love, I mused as I waited at the gate for my flight back to New York. Ten months ago, when my son and newly pregnant daughter-in-law told me they were moving to Australia for the year, I bought them Robert Munsch’s classic children’s book Love You Forever to express my feelings to them.

It is the metaphorical story about the constancy of a mother’s unconditional love for her son as he goes through all of life’s stages, from infancy to adulthood. Every night, despite his aggravating behavior, and undeterred by how far away he eventually lives, the mother rocks her sleeping son and sings to him, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Eventually, the mother becomes too old and sick to carry on with this tradition, and then the son, now a man, travels the distance to reach his mother, hold her in his arms, and sing to her, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my Mommy you’ll be.” The son continues the tradition with his own newborn baby daughter, rocking her to sleep by singing the same song to her that his mother sang to him.

This story is a testament to the eternal maternal love that persists beyond time and space and transcends all trivial boundaries.

I inscribed the book with the words of the renowned poet E. E. Cummings:

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart), I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear), I carry your heart (I carry it in mine).

And I added some of my own:

Forever, near or far, every moment of every minute of every day, my dearest children, you’re on my mind and in my heart—your happiness, health, success and safety. But to be a mother is to watch your heart walk around outside of your body forever. So, my dear children, you carry my heart with you wherever you go (you carry it in your hearts). Please take care of my heart by being supremely happy always.

When I visited my children and their newborn baby daughter for Passover, I was gratified to see the love my son lavished on my granddaughter and the bond they had already established.

I heard the announcement “Three minutes to boarding” as I opened the Amazon app on myI was gratified to see the bond they had established phone. I clicked and put a copy of Love You Forever into my shopping cart. I entered my mom’s address and inscribed the accompanying card:

Dearest Mommy,

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart), I am never without it (anywhere I go you go and whatever is done by only me is your doing).”

P.S. As I wrote the last words of this article and saved the document to my computer, I impulsively emailed it to my children in Australia without so much as reading it through. They responded with a message for me: We love you forever, we love you for always, forever and ever our Mom you will be.