The young mother set her foot on the path of life.
"Is this the long way?"
And the guide said, "Yes, and the way is hard.
And you will be old before you reach the end of it.
But the end will be better than the beginning.
But the young mother was happy,
and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years.
So she played with her children, she fed them, and bathed them,
and taught them to tie their shoelaces and ride a bike
and do their homework and brush their teeth.
The sun shone on them, and the young mother cried,
"Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."
Then the nights came, and the storms,
and the path was sometimes dark, and the children shook with fear and
and the mother drew them close and covered them with her arms,
and the children said,
"Mother, we are not afraid for you are near,
and no harm can come."
And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead,
and the children climbed and grew weary,
and the mother was weary too.
But at all times she said to the children,
"A little patience and we are there."
So the children climbed, and as they climbed,
they learned to weather the storms.
And with this, she gave them strength to face the world.
Year after year, she showed them compassion, understanding,
hope, but most of all...unconditional love.
And when they reached
the top they said, "Mother, we could not have done it without you."
The days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years,
and the mother grew old and she became little and bent.
But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage.
And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars
and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have
learned so much and are now passing these traits on to their children."
And when the way became rough for her,
they lifted her and gave her their strength,
just as she had given them hers.
One day they came to a hill,
and beyond the hill, they could see a shining road
and golden gates flung open.
And the mother
said, "I have reached the end of my journey.
And now I know that the end is better than the beginning,
for my children can walk with dignity and pride,
with their heads held high, and so can their children after them."
And the children said,
"You will always walk with us, Mother,
even when you have gone through the gates."
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone,
and the gates closed after her.
And they said,
"We cannot see her, but she is with us still.
A mother like ours is more than a memory.
She is a living presence."