I used to be real bad at that. When I first went off to college, Mom would have to call me every few months or so. Finally, she got fed up with it, and she had to confront me. A year or two into college, she told me in one conversation:
"I want you to call me more regularly. YOU call ME. And I want you to tell me 'I love you' everytime you do that. It means a lot to me."
You know, sometimes ladies just have to spell it out for us. Mom did that for me, and the message was heard. So I began to make a Sunday night ritual of it. When I was leaving the church building from the PM worship service, I'd give her a ring. Sometimes I'd take the long way home so we could talk a little longer; other times I'd just sit in my truck in the driveway. Most times we would just chit-chat & wouldn't talk very long. But semi-regularly, on Sunday night's, I'd pick up the phone & call my Mama.
I even nearly reached for the phone last night. My sister & I have even talked about how it sort of seems like we could pick up the phone to talk to her -- except that we actually can't. I was driving home from PM worship service last night, had the radio off, and I thought about calling her. Except I actually couldn't.
My thanks to Lori for forwarding this to me Saturday: Jason Steckel wrote about this experience in the latest Wineskins:
It was less than a year and a half later, [my son] Matthew came into the world. Again, we were reminded of the hole in our families. I wished that my mom was there to share in this special moment. As a new life began, I was reminded of a life that ended too soon.
In the years since, I have often had moments where I wanted to talk to my mom. Whether it was seeking advice, wanting to share a special moment, or simply the desire to say hi, there are times when I just wish my mom was still here. But again, I am reminded that we live in a broken world where death is inevitable and no one is immune from pain and suffering.
And in Sunday's New York Times, Tom Friedman very simply tells the reader to Call Your Mother:
Whenever I’ve had the honor of giving a college graduation speech, I always try to end it with this story about the legendary University of Alabama football coach, Bear Bryant. Late in his career, after his mother had died, South Central Bell Telephone Company asked Bear Bryant to do a TV commercial. As best I can piece together, the commercial was supposed to be very simple — just a little music and Coach Bryant saying in his tough voice: “Have you called your mama today?”
On the day of the filming, though, he decided to ad-lib something. He reportedly looked into the camera and said: “Have you called your mama today? I sure wish I could call mine.” That was how the commercial ran, and it got a huge response from audiences.
So on this Mother’s Day, if you take one thing away from this column, take this: Call your mother.
I sure wish I could call mine.
Me too, Tom.