When you are young, she is cookies and milk after school.

She is a comforting hug after a bad dream in the middle of the night.

She is the cold rag on a feverish forehead.

A calm strength when you are frightened.

By the time you are a teenager, she is nosy and bossy.

She has more advice than Dear Abby.

She is old and out of touch.

She insists you go to church and prays daily you will not stray too far from the principles she has taught you.

She is the first to jump to your defense when someone criticizes you, and the first to tell you when you are wrong.

Years pass. You are a young woman and it is your wedding day.

She is more than your mother; she is your friend and she rejoices at your happiness.

The proud look on her face tells the world how much she loves you.

When she becomes a grandmother, the advice she gave you when you were a child suddenly takes on new meaning.

She never tires of hearing about her grandchildren's antics or accomplishments, and she relishes in relating stories about them over and over to anyone who will listen.

When she holds her grandchild in her arms, you see the same look of love on her face that was there for you when you were a child.

More years pass and time begins to take its toll.

Her hair is now gray and her face lined with wrinkles. Her eyesight and hearing are failing.

Her body is bent and her step unsure.

She is forgetful and frail and then one day ... she is gone.

She is memories of comforting hugs in the middle of the night, cookies and milk after school, the proud look on her face the day of your wedding, the loving way she held your child.

Now it is your turn!
She's gone, and yet she is with you because when you look in the mirror, you see the woman she molded, as well as the little girl who still longs to run to the comfort of her mother's arms.

Now it is your turn to do the things she did, and when you do them

You remember her love and realize that at last you know her secret.

A mother is mortal, with imperfections and failings.

She cannot solve the problems of the universe, nor can she protect her children from every danger.

She can only try.

You wish with all your heart that you could tell her "thank you" one more time.

And you can almost hear her whisper, "Thank me by loving your children as much as I loved you."

She has given you something priceless, the legacy of her love.

This is taken from Teresa's great new book, Mom: PhD.