My first job, after college, was working at a radio station in Cape Girardeau – a small, “river city” in the boot heel of Missouri, about a half hour drive from my parents’ home in southern Illinois. I worked the afternoon drive (2 – 7 pm) and my mother would listen to me play “Today’s new country!” as she drove home from work – her way of checking on me, because if she’d waited for me to call … well, let’s just say my phone calls were less frequent than daily.
Now that I’m a parent, I have a better understanding of what it meant for her to be able to hear my voice every day. On those days when I’d switch shifts and she’d tune in and hear someone else, it never dawned on me I was worrying her.
Fast forward to today. The first person to read my blog each day is, you guessed it: my mother. If you read the comments on various posts, it’s not hard to pick her out – she’s still my biggest fan. From the painfully melodramatic Halloween play I wrote in 4th grade to the sermons I write today, she has always encouraged me to write and speak and communicate. Funny how long it took me to figure out that her praise and encouragement were also invitations for me to communicate with her.
Of her three daughters, (I’m the middle child – I know, shocker), I’m the worst about calling, preferring instead to write/email. But the frequency of my emails isn’t impressive. So, we come full circle and, once again, my mother’s closest connection with me is via mass media.
Blogging is a lot like being a radio announcer – one-way communication, directed at a broad audience, intended to entertain as much as inform. For now, it seems to be working for us. Knowing how much she looks forward to hearing from me inspires me to write more often than I might otherwise. Because I write when everyone else in my house is asleep, I’m not having to filter my conversation (as I do when my children listen while I’m on the phone) and what I share is more fully processed (as opposed to half-thought-out responses I share when I’m in a conversation I wasn’t ready to have).
It’s not ideal, but I love knowing she has context for the handful of conversations we do have. We can catch up more quickly, without my having to recap all the drama in recent weeks, and when she asks how I am she knows what my “fine” really means.
Now, go call your mother (or write or text or visit). Me? I just finished talking to mine.