To My Dear Sons,

A good home feels like a protected nest, or a safe-haven.

They say that someone’s mission in life is hinted at by his name.  Avraham, for instance, means “father of a multitude” or “father of a mighty nation.”  (Anyone who’s seen all of you together might say that — with G-d’s help — Abba is well on his way.)  Ruth means “friendship.”  I like to think that is what I do.  (It also means “mother of Mashiach,” according to a dear rabbi of ours — but I always thought that one was too much pressure.)

We Jews are about gratitude.  It’s our name.  Yehudi is from the same shoresh (root) as hoda’ah (gratitude).

I am a very fortunate woman.  I am happy.  And I think that I am happy because gratitude is easy for me.

Watching you grow into your individual selves has been my great honor and joy.

Something about becoming an “empty-nester” brings my happiness into focus.

(Okay — I know I’ve teased each of you as you’ve left home.  “Okay, I’m leaving, Ema.”

“YAY!!!  It’s hot-tub time!”  We’ve always threatened to turn your bedroom into a Spa for Old, Child-Free People.)

These days, we’re just three… and more often two than three.

This moment in time, when the last of you is living away from home more than at home, has the effect of causing me to focus on how grateful I am for each of you.  For your quirky, totally different but complementary personalities and talents.  For the way you have chosen to love each other, rather than fight with each other.  For how easy that makes it to respect and like and adore each of you, as if he were the only.

Because each of you is.

Gratitude will keep me young.  So if you want me around for your grandchildren, keep doing what you do.

I am grateful for the way you are in awe of each other.

I am grateful for the true friendship you have with each other, that you will allow no new family members to break, but into which new family members will be absolutely and totally embraced.

You even make each other’s friends feel like your friends, respected in your home, the home of “the brothers.”

Mmmmmmm! This delicious “empty nest,” crafted of delicate, crispy strips of cinnamon-scented dough, brought to you by my friends at Cookie Crave

I am grateful for this time alone with your Abba.  I know you are not surprised — because we always told you about the hot-tub.  ;-)  But we both love when any of you comes through that door.  The best: when ALL of you — and your wives, and your children — come through that door!

May we share long lives, filled with the simple joy of appreciating each other.

Remember, dear sons, that this is what you get for seudat shlishit when you come for a visit. (My mama didn’t raise no fools.) To get treats like this in your own home, contact David and Suri Gross at the Cookie Crave at http://cakesinisrael.com/.