Sunday, April 6, 2008

For My Mom

In a perfect world, I would write everyday. Instead, work, kids and life in general usually leaves me too tired to do anything else other than lay in bed and watch SportsCenter. The following blog I wrote by hand while killing time during jury duty back in March. I finally got around to transcribing it into my laptop and publishing it to my site. I hope you enjoy.
It’s no secret I aspire to be a writer. I guess you can say that in my own very amateur way I already am. Still, I fantasize about one day paying the bills with the advance check from a publisher and then grumbling about yet another book signing event at Starbucks. Until that day comes, however, I will continue to write my blogs and hone my style by reading the works of the many writers I admire and whose work I thoroughly enjoy.

At the top of that list is Mitch Albom. What’s interesting is I became familiar with Albom through his appearances on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. As a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press, Albom is a frequent guest (think ‘The View’ but for guys), and I have always been captivated by Albom’s ‘parting shot’ on the show – a 30 second editorial on a current event or a sports-related situation. So you can imagine my surprise when one day many years ago I was watching television and saw an advertisement for the made-for-TV movie “Tuesday’s With Morrie.” The commercial said, “Based on the book by Mitch Albom” and I thought to myself, “Hmmmmm……he writes books, too?”

I will admit I have yet to read that novel, and the book is on my to-read list. I did, however, read Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and I can honestly tell you that my perspective on life – and death – is completely different as a result. Perhaps it’s because I read it in the last months of my father’s life. Perhaps it’s because I found so much comfort in the message of Albom’s story, especially when I applied it to my father’s passing and the wonderment of who are my father’s 5 people. Either way, I rank the book towards the top of my list of all-time favorite books.

So as I sit here for jury duty, writing this blog on the back of crossword puzzle sheets, I feel inspired to write as a result of Albom’s latest book “For One More Day.” I have only gotten 40 pages into the book, yet I had to put it down and write. The book is written in first person from the perspective of the main character, and it centers on the relationship this character had with his mother. Even though I’ve only read 1/5 of the book, I know I am going to enjoy it and it’s going to leave me in tears.

I shift to the thought of my mother and my relationship with her. I think about how my interactions with her are nothing like the ones I had with my father, and I know they never will be. I can’t explain why, except perhaps to steal a line from Albom’s book “You can be a mamma’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” There’s no doubt I was a daddy’s boy growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mother during my childhood and I love her still. Yet, if I had to spend a day with one of my two parents, I would hope it was with my dad.

Now I sit here more than three years removed from my father’s passing and over 300 miles removed from my mom. I try to call her once a week, but I know I don’t make it a priority. When we do speak, I know what to say, or more importantly, what not to say lest I get a ten minute earful of Readers’ Digest inspired advice or criticism. The in-depth and fulfilling conversations with my mom are the exception to the norm, and I wish deep down inside this was different.

My mother is a wonderful woman. She is the most giving person I know, always picking up knick-knacks and such for other people. I can’t visit her in Miami without coming back with toys for my kids or other miscellaneous items for Lee. My mom always has something for me as well, usually a commemorative issue of the Miami Herald focusing on the Dolphins, Hurricanes or some other South Florida sporting event. She’s humble, she’s devout, and she’s always concerned about my well being: I would say to a fault, she would say until the day she dies.

This gets me to thinking that unlike when I was a kid, my mom being there is not something that will last forever. I know that one day I will be at her memorial service wishing I had more time and longing ‘for one more day’. I will run through a list of regrets, of moments taken for granted and conversations deemed burdensome by me. Writing a book, getting published, and making a living as a writer is a dream with many aspects of it beyond my control. Making time to build and strengthen what I have with my mom, by contrast, is something so very easy for me to achieve. And I know it will be more rewarding than any residual check can ever be.

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