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A mother’s love helps a child’s dreams take wing and soar to new heights, with no pre-conditions of perfection or success. Sometimes, in fact, a mother’s love overflows most when she binds up the wounds of her child’s failure, mends a broken heart or rebuilds shattered confidence. A mother’s deep love can “cover a multitude of sins,” both her own and her children’s.

The power of mother love, as Amanda Berry has shown, can even save one’s own life. And that is the mystery of mother love: The more intense it is — and the more we freely give it away — the more it ends up making us better, more whole people. And often, it saves our own lives in more ways than we know.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosave