Years ago, my youngest daughter asked if I would write a letter of recommendation for her.

She had applied for a scholarship geared toward young women on their own who were working on making a better life for themselves.

At that time she was working full-time and going to school to be a medical assistant.

Unfortunately, according to the letter guidelines, moms were not eligible to write their recommendations.

Apparently, moms don’t count.

I can understand the reason. Moms see their kids through bias-tainted eyes. A mom can look at her kid in a courtroom, clad in an orange jumpsuit, shackled in chains, accused of being an ax-murdering cannibal and she’ll see the little boy or girl who once made her a set of ceramic salt and pepper shakers and forgot to put holes in them.

Recently, I watched a movie about a group of teenage girls, one who cheated with another girl’s boyfriend.

The girls lured the cheater girl to a deserted canyon, killed her and then framed the only girl who didn’t participate for the murder.

Later, the real killer’s mom lied to the police and said her daughter and the other killer girls were with her all day.

Right or wrong, a mom’s first instinct is to protect her young. You don’t mess with moms!

And you don’t accept letters of recommendation from them either.

Not that moms can’t be truthful. It’s just that their truth is colored by a love that goes beyond any other type of human love.

Romantic love comes and goes, but the bond of love a mom has for her child can’t easily, if at all, be severed. It’s primal and instinctual and sometimes irrational and unreasonable.

It’s said that a mom is only as happy as her saddest child — and it’s true in my life.

If one of my kids is sad or sick, desperate or in trouble, even if she’s 1,000 miles away, my heart will hurt.

It comes with the job, and a mom never outgrows it.

Sometimes a mom’s best efforts are misguided. Sometimes her best intentions and her actions are just plain wrong, like the mom in the movie.

But I understand why she did what she did.

And thankfully, so does God. I think God has a special mercy for moms and He gives special strength for us to do the hard things.

Raising children is difficult and joyful, heartwarming and heartbreaking, frustrating, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. It makes moms do things they didn’t think they ever would or could do.

Moms drink tap water so their kids can drink the costly juice or milk; they eat the chicken backs and ends of the loaves of bread, saying they prefer them. They go without. They put their kids’ needs first. They sacrifice sleep and time and comfort.

They use their shirts to wipe runny noses. They box with God and the devil on their kids’ behalf.

They pray without ceasing.

When it comes to letters of recommendation, moms don’t count, but maybe that’s because a mom’s love for her children counts too much.

May God bless the moms — we need it.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

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