Body, Mind & Spirit

There are three epochs in a person’s life. The first is when Mom is larger than life (or is life). The second is when Mom doesn’t know anything and is ignored. And the third stage is when Mom means the world to us.

I’m not sure about the first stage, but I have vivid recollections of ignoring my mother’s wisdom and advice. For example, during my middle school years my mother kept telling me to eat plenty of green vegetables and vitamin C. I ignored her advice one summer, ate nothing but Twinkies and Ding-Dongs, and nearly died of scurvy.

Another time, my mother warned me about playing with matches, but I set fire to a vacant field when I was five and nearly burned the neighborhood to the ground (you think I’m joking?). And my mother still calls me from time-to-time to make sure I have plenty of new underwear (doesn’t yours?).

Why do we ignore mom? And why later, do we appreciate her wisdom and love so much – especially her love?

Perhaps moms know we are going to ignore them, and that’s part of their plan to teach us self-assurance and independence. Helicopter moms can’t follow their kids to college, although many try. Hovering moms can’t make relationship and business decisions for their kids, although it’s a fascinating concept. No, moms have to let us go. They have to be willing to be ignored at some stage; and they hold out the hope that someday we will arrive at the third stage when we learn to honor them.

There are many things that I appreciate about my mother – here on the cusp of my 50th birthday. And many of the things I appreciate about her would seem odd or totally weird to others, I’m sure.

For example, I’ve never known a woman, who has mastered so many Jell-O recipes. My Mom can make a Jell-O salad in a bathtub – and by golly, it’s pretty good. You should try some of this stuff, especially the recipe with the little marshmallows and shaved carrots. Some of her Jell-O molds have lasted entire summers.

I’ve never known anyone who loves cats as much as my mother. In fact, she loves cats more than she loves my Dad, which is understandable, given the fact that my Dad can no longer arch his back and purr.

And listen, I can’t overlook the fact that my mother taught me a how to laugh at myself, how to have a joy-filled faith, and how to serve others. My Mom taught school for 42 years. She taught me in kindergarten – can’t you tell? She also was my Sunday school teacher, mentor and guide. She frequently mothered my friends, too. And there were dozens of times when she bailed me out of messes I’d created for myself, and more than a few times, when she could have said, “I told you so.” But instead she said, “I love you.”

And, since I know my Mom is reading this, let me return the favor. “I love you, Mom!”

Better give your mom a call, too, especially if you missed that call on Mother’s Day.

Todd Outcalt is the author of twenty books, and the most recent being The Ultimate Christian Living, $5 Youth Ministry, School’s Out, and The Healing Touch. He serves as senior pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, Ind. and tries to call his mother every week.


Better give your Mom a call…