Ancient Greeks honored Gaia, or Mother Earth, as her personification of nature that gives birth to the world. And her daughter Rhea, who was considered the Mother of all gods, that celebrated motherhood, nature, and fertility. The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Virgin Mother “Theotokos,” who is sacred, honorable, respectful, and represents all Mothers around the world.

Every family has a legendary tale that gets told time and time again. I recount this tale told by my great grandmother, to my grandmother, and my mother, that has distinguished what the meaning of a Mother or Motherhood is to me.

There once was a king in a land far, far away, who asked for a mere peasant to get him something that he had been longing for. The king desired a new heart and asked the peasant to kill his own mother and bring her heart to him as soon as the sun goes down. By doing so, the king will grant him all the riches in the world. This incentive was so dear to the peasant that he went straight home to his mother and took out her heart. He placed it in a basket and made his way towards the kingdom. On the way there, he tripped over an unforeseen object and the heart flew out of the basket and onto the ground. As the peasant went over to pick up the heart and place it in the basket when he heard it say to him “Are you hurt son? Are you alright my darling?”

How can we characterize our mother and her distinctive features that make her unique in every way? In her eyes, we never grow up and she will worry if we’ve eaten, if we are well-dressed on those cold days, and if we need protection from the world’s corruption. Forgetting her own needs and giving her child all that she has in her. I dedicate this story first to my own mother, and then to all the mothers in this world, for love, like you have never known, begins and ends with a Mother.