This time each year I face the same dilemma . . . what can I give to my mother for Mother’s Day? The struggle begins weeks before the second Sunday of May, and continues until in exasperation, I come to the sad realization there is nothing grand enough, beautiful enough, or perfect enough to express my feelings for her. After all how does one show adequate gratitude for the person who gave them life? And not just life, as in a physical body, but life as in the living part of life, the nurturing, lifting, believing, experiencing part of life. All that I am is due, in the most significant ways, to the love and example of my mother. One of my mother’s most striking features has always been her eyes, not just because of their beauty but because they truly are windows into an extraordinary soul. I can remember from my earliest memories the gentleness of my mother’s eyes. It was within the safety of her devoted gaze, I flourished. She taught me to explore my world by patiently celebrating my inquisitiveness, even when my “whys” exceeded the hours in a day. I learned to appreciate the beauty of nature and the sacredness of life, in all of its forms, through her eyes. The colors of a spectacular sunset, the delicate petals of a tiny flower, the scent of fresh rain, the autumn breeze against my cheek, the soft mew of a newborn kitten, these were her teaching tools in an amazing classroom of infinite possibilities. Her eyes shone with contented happiness as she sang comforting lullabies and would dance in delight as she harmonized with my father. I loved hearing them sing together! Her eyes held in them my first experiences with God. My mother’s love for the Lord radiates from her eyes. Her quiet, unwavering testimony, expressed in hushed and reverent tones, encouraged me to search out and find my place in His universe. Her eyes reveal the truth of a loving Father in Heaven, who knows who I am and loves me beyond what I am capable of understanding. Growing up, it was her eyes I looked up to for approval and where I found the courage and confidence to try and try again when I failed. Her eyes believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Her eyes have always reflected unconditional love; she taught me love is not reserved for only those who are easy to love, but especially for those who are most difficult to love. Her eyes taught me about pain and grief as she mourned with those who mourned, when she watched helplessly as children stumbled, lost their way and struggled back to their feet. I have watched her eyes carry profound sadness when cherished loved ones passed away, yet found the strength to look up and always trust in God’s plan. I have felt deep sorrow and exquisite joy through her eyes. Her eyes inspired me to become a mother. I knew being a mother was something special, something to look forward to, something to embrace and celebrate. As I have experienced motherhood in all of its euphoric gloriousness and unexpected messiness, I have come to realize that sometimes my mother’s eyes bore the faint, almost unrecognizable traces of personal hopes and dreams swallowed up in the hopes and dreams of her family. Yet she will be the first to tell you, these were willing sacrifices and she’d gladly make them again. Her eyes have no “greater joy than to ‘see’ her children walk in truth.” – 3 John 1:4. My mother’s eyes may have dimmed with age, but I still look to them for guidance, reassurance, and most of all love. Even if I could master a musical instrument, or sing with the voice of an angel, or write a touching sonnet, or create a lasting piece of art, it would all fall short of the desire of my heart. I long to express to her beyond words, or feelings or sight, that I am, and forever will be, grateful to be HER daughter. I am grateful to have had the chance to see myself in and through her eyes. And I want, with all of my heart, each of my children to see in my eyes, what I have always seen in my mother’s eyes . . . love in its truest most beautiful, eternal form.