It has been said that the largest number of telephone calls made in a given year are made on Mother’s Day. It is also reported that the largest number of collect telephone calls are made on Father’s Day.
Often it is the Dad who buys Junior his first baseball glove, hockey stick, basketball, or football and spends countless hours in the back yard with said kid helping to hone those athletic skills.
Yet, if Dad’s pride and joy makes it to the big time, nearly always he will look into the cameras on the day of the big game, wave, and shout, “Hi, Mom!”
There’s no use in the dads of the world complaining about the unfairness of it all. The simple truth is that mothers hold a special place in the heart of a child, even if the child is grown.
In fact, it doesn’t even have to be the biological mother — there are countless women who have been surrogate mothers to many and are held in near reverence by those they have “mothered.”
I’m not sure exactly why this is. In past days, it was the women who stayed home with the children while the men went out to hunt and gather. It makes perfect sense to take a look at that type of culture and understand that, if the mom is the one home with the child for all those formative years, the female parent will hold a unique position in the eyes of the youngsters. The boys, especially, want to be like Dad, but they have a special affection for Mom.
In the current culture, where most of the women work as much as most of the men, the reasons are not so clear to me. Perhaps this affection for moms is genetic as much as it is environmental. Perhaps it is due to the reality in our culture that a significant number of children grow up without the fathers in the home. Maybe it’s due to the nurturing nature of most women. I do not know.
When my father died nearly 14 years ago, it was a severe loss. I had gotten to know him as a friend and as a respected elder over the years since I achieved manhood. But when my mother died some six years later, I felt as though I had been cast adrift. When Dad died, I felt like I had to step up and be the man.
When Mom died, I felt like a lost child.
Mom wasn’t always the easiest person to deal with. Sometimes I hear jokes about “Jewish mothers” and I think that Mom must have had some Jewish blood in her. She could be difficult, demanding, hard to please, and could administer guilt with the skill of a black belt. Still, with each passing year I miss her more and not less.
A few months ago, I got out the old photographs and paid special attention to those of my mom. In many ways, she was the typical mother of the 1950s, when I was a child. She cooked, cleaned, washed the clothes, was home when my brother and I arrived from school, bandaged up the wounds from bike wrecks or neighborhood bullies, cut switches from a bush in the front yard when we misbehaved, and read to me my first stories from the Bible.
From 1981 until the date of her death, I sent her hundreds of photographs and thousands of letters and post cards. She kept them every one, as I discovered when my brother and I went through her stuff. Yet, there were things I didn’t do as much as I could have.
I wish I had called more. I wish I had visited more, especially in the later years, but church work doesn’t allow many weekends off. But, like many, I thought I had more time.
Sunday is Mother’s Day and I’d give anything to give her a call and, just one more time, say, “Hi, Mom!”
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec,org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and may be contacted at email@example.com.]