When Your Kids Say “I Love You”

There are certainly plenty of days when I truly feel like the most horrible mother on the face of the earth, EVER. Most of the time, I feel like I’m failing at this parenting thing. No matter how many kisses I receive, or how many times someone cuddles next to me on the couch, I just feel like I am always fighting the uphill battle. There is one thing that happens on occasion to make me feel like I’ve done alright, though.

It happened today, in fact. My 18 year old son, who just finished his senior year of high school this very day, called me on his cell phone. He’s away at boarding school, so I’ve missed out on many, many “normal” days being his mom.  So I live for the cell phone calls.  Although we don’t talk every day, and we do call him,  it always gives me a little thrill when he calls just to tell us about his day. Tonight he called. Told me about his last day of high school. And then he had to hang up almost 2 minutes into the call because he was going with some friends to a movie to celebrate, and the car had arrived. As he squished his 6’2″ frame into a testosterone-filled car full of other 18 year old boys, he said, “I love you, Mom.” THAT made my day. It made me feel as if I had accomplished something as a parent.  I’m not sure what exactly; I just remember fighting with my parents much of the time when I was about his age, and I would never think of saying “I love you” to them in front of my friends.

Then the bonus round came…  He called again as he was sitting in the movie theater, waiting for the movie to start.

He said, “I’m sorry I didn’t really get to talk to you before, so I thought I’d call back to see how your day was.”

It warmed the very cockles of my heart.

If that had been me sitting there, with all my friends, on one of the last days I’d get to hang out with them, thoughts of calling my mother wouldn’t have even entered my mind.  After a few moments of gleaning the really important things about his day, I was the one to say “It’s been wonderful talking to you; I’m looking forward to seeing you home soon.  But why don’t you just enjoy this time with your friends?”  So what did he do?

“Okay, Mom.  Thanks.  I love you.  Can’t wait to come home!”


I know there will be lots of days when I doubt myself.  My abilities as a mom.  How capable I am as a human being, period.  But for this one little moment, I’m thinking I’ve done okay…

Looking all serious, and envisioning the future...


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