For the Love of Children

Rabbi Janie Grackin.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am watching Facebook, YouTube, news announcements of special events and reading lots of “Mommy Blogs”.

I have been blessed with one wonderful child, but not everyone is a Mom, and I began to wonder how others were feeling at this time of year when we are inundated with Mom news everywhere!

I came to Motherhood later than many, and it surprised my friends when I finally decided to make the leap.  Of course, just because I’d made the decision, it didn’t make the process easy.  That seems to work only for unwed 15 year-olds.  It took three years of planning, hoping, scheming, medical research, and lots of tears before I finally became pregnant.  I understand the feelings of disappointment and failure that women feel when their prayers for parenthood are not answered.

I never experienced love like the moment I met my baby.  Everyone will tell you that.  I thought my heart would burst with the expansion of love, and I immediately knew that I wanted more children.

The blessing never came again, and by the time I was forced to surrender my dreams, I was in my mid-forties, post-cancer, post-hysterectomy, and deemed “too old” to qualify to adopt.  When the last effort for adoption fell through, I cried sounds from my soul that I was sure would shake the world.  My grief was deep, painful, and mine alone.

My heartbreak was saved by a friend who watched my interaction with groups of children on playgrounds and in schools who told me that because I didn’t have other children, my heart was big enough to hold everyone else’s. 

And it was true.  Her words opened my heart to give unconditional love to all the children I have had the blessing to reach and teach.  Every year a new group, every day a new adventure.  When I was ready to move on to other jobs in new locations and was saddened by leaving my now beloved students, my friend told me, “don’t worry, you’ll love the next group just as much.”  And, thank you G-d, she was right.

So, even though I never had all the children I prayed for in my own home, I had yours and theirs and so many wonderful moments of joy and blessing.  I learned to embrace the terrible twos and the dreadful teens and everything in-between.

Thank you, Moms everywhere, for sharing your children with me.  And to those who don’t have children of your own, go find some!  Read to children in libraries and preschools.  Volunteer at your church, synagogue, or a family Homeless Shelter.  There are so many children out there who desperately need you to love them, even in little ways, and those special moments will fill your heart and ease your pain.

Always keep in mind that we do this for the love of children, and that is the gift to ourselves.  We grow and are enriched by every moment we give away.


Happy Mother’s Day!

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Janie, Thank you for sending the picture. You look great and reminds me of all the good times we had when we worked together.

L'Chayim Joan Klein TBO began my 20th year 2-4-13

How to cite this page

Grackin, Janie. "For the Love of Children." 12 May 2013. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on July 13, 2020) <>.

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