Sunday, August 26, 2007


"She spends a lot of time just sitting in your room looking at your stuff."

My younger brother was talking about my mom. I had called home from college about a month after classes had started to see how things were going.

My parents never had an opportunity to go to college. So they made it pretty clear ever since I was a child that I was definitely going to college, definitely going to learn something, and definitely going to get a job that didn't incorporate manual labor. And there was no arguing that point. I once suggested that I become a plumber, but that didn't bide very well with my dad.

As high school came to a close, I got into a great college, got some scholarships, and was very excited and happy about moving out: I'll finally get out of Kansas, meet new people, live in a large east coast city, become more cosmopolitan, yadda yadda yadda. It was 1200 miles away from home, and this will be the first time that our family wouldn't be together, but I thought it would be good for me to venture out and live on my own. Every bird's got to leave the nest at some point.

September came around, we loaded up the minivan with everything I needed for college, hugged my mom and brother goodbye, and my dad and I hit the road. After a full day of driving, we stopped for the night in a motel someplace in Ohio, and once we were settled my dad called home to give an update on our progress. After talking to my mom for a bit, he handed the phone over to me.

"Hi Mom!"

But there was no answer from the other end.


Then she started quietly crying. And I realized just then how hard it must have been for her to watch her child leave home. All of a sudden, the only thing I wanted to do was hug my mom. Meekly, I told her I missed her. Inbetween sobs, she told me to be good, to pray every day, and to study hard and make her proud.

I felt like an ass. I felt sheepish. I felt stupid. Not for one minute did I give any consideration about how my parents felt about me moving so far away for college. Although there was a great college in town, they voiced no objections when I mentioned moving 1200 miles away. All they wanted was for me to be happy. I was immediately ashamed at my selfishness. And this demonstration of their unconditional love for me humbled me.

But everything worked out fine. I came home for every major holiday, and knowing that we would all be together under one roof again, even if only for just one week, made the distance and the separation easier.

Today marks seven years since I lost my mom to cancer. And slowly the times when it hurts is getting less than the times when it doesn't. But it's knowing that one day I'll see her again that makes the distance and separation easier.

Jan 9, 1950 * Aug 26, 2000