It was so easy to keep in touch with my four children when they were living at home... let's say between the ages of birth and 18. They all lived under our roof and daily communication was a way of life -- until they all reached the age of 12 and puberty kicked in.
When a child turns 12, they stop wanting their mothers to kiss them on their cheeks in public and they get moody so "talking" becomes a challenge. Every other word is: "What?!" Then every third phrase is: "Leave me alone!" And, of course, I asked their friends way too many questions when they got in our car or came to the house. They all did learn to say, "Can I borrow the car?" when they turned 16.
But, while they lived at home, at least they were visible when they came out of their rooms. They had to eat.
Now, they're all young adults. Three are married -- living 20, 45 and 150 miles from me -- and one is single and living 500 miles away.
Here's the problem. They don't call their mother enough... no matter how much I complain. (Their daddy thinks I'm overreacting, which is just silly.)
I call them (leave a message), I text them... I wait. I sit by the land line and wait. I sit by my cell phone and wait. It's not that I don't have a full life (I don't), it's just I love my children and need to talk to them at least once a week. That's not unreasonable. They don't see it the same way.
"Mom, I work full time. I'm going to night school for my MBA. Then on the weekends, my wife and I catch up on errands. I'm just so busy, I can't always call once a week"... says my youngest son.
"Mom, I work 50 hours a week, and on the weekends I need to do laundry, shopping, catch up on sleep, and my husband works six days a week. We're just so busy!"... says my youngest daughter.
"Mom! I call you as much as I can. My wife works three days a week, I'm working marathon hours, the kids have their school activities and sports on weekends. We're busy too!"... says my oldest son.
"Mom, I'm so sorry I haven't called you in a while, but you wouldn't believe how crazy my life is and how busy I am."... says my oldest daughter.
Too busy to call? Really? Seriously? Let me share something with all of you via this popular MONSTER BLOG SITE. When the four of you were born (thanks to your daddy and I -- although I did all the hard pushing during labor) and while you were growing up in our loving home...
I wasn't too busy to change your diapers.
I wasn't too busy get up at midnight, 2 a.m., 6 a.m. and stay up all day for your feedings when you were babies.
I wasn't too busy to get up with you so many nights when you needed a drink of water or some TLC when you were sick... and take you to the doctor or sit in the emergency rooms all hours of the night when your fever was over 101.
I wasn't too busy to hold your hands and give you thousands of hugs and kisses and rock you to sleep at night when you were my precious little tikes who warmed my heart just to be in your presence.
I wasn't too busy to drive you to your practices and go to your sporting events: soccer, T-Ball, baseball, basketball, swim meets... and recitals.
I wasn't too busy to go with the four of you on every field trip your elementary classes took from first through sixth grades.
I wasn't too busy to cook your dinner seven nights a week for the 18 years each of you lived at home (even though all of you hated fish sticks).
I wasn't too busy to make sure you had shoes on your feet and all the "proper" clothes you needed which included some way-too-expensive designer threads.
I wasn't too busy to give you much-needed social and common sense advice ("It's cold outside, wear your coat and put on some socks!").
I wasn't too busy to help you with your homework (except for higher math and shop).
I wasn't too busy to insist you fill out your college applications... nagging was just part of the process.
I wasn't too busy to make sure you knew I would always be here for you every minute of every day for the rest of your lives.
(I don't want to give the impression my children don't love me. I know they do! They do tell me they love me every time they talk to me. I just wish I could hear it every week as I'm catching up with their lives.)
As John Lennon once said, "Life happens while you're making other plans."
Rumor has it, Chicken Little called his mom every day after he grew up.
If you're reading this -- no matter who you are -- call your mama.
Follow Pat Gallagher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@pat_gallagher