05/21/2013 11:37 am ET Updated Jul 21, 2013

Remembering Your Mom Is a Human

About eight years ago when I was a sophomore in high school, I was walking around town with one of my friends. We had just eaten our weight in pizza, and were doing our best to convince a group of girls that we were visiting our parents from college (even though we still lacked the ability to grow facial hair). All of a sudden my phone started vibrating in my pocket. I politely excused myself, explaining to the group of girls that I do promotional videos for my (nonexistent) university. I told them it was "most likely my agent," and I should really take the call.

It was my mother. I quickly tried to rationalize that hitting the F-U button on the woman who made sure there wasn't a hint of crust on my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the better part of a decade was acceptable because one of the girls looked like Jessica Biel (she didn't) and was totally about to give me her phone number (she wasn't). Instead, I rolled my eyes and begrudgingly answered the phone.

"Hey ma, what's wrong?" I quietly tried to utter so my future Jessica Biel-esque girlfriend wouldn't hear. "Oh nothing, I'm just in line at the grocery store and I figured I'd call you."

How dare she?

I'm finally about to get the confidence to ask this girl for her number (no, I wasn't), and she has the nerve to call me and ruin the situation (at which point I'm sure my friend and I had already done), just because she is out purchasing my future rations for the week, and got BORED?

My mother was bored.

Now don't think I was anymore of a selfish jerk than any other 15-year-old adolescent. I was a sweet kid. Up until then, I just never thought about -- hadn't even considered -- the fact that my parents could experience any emotion that would make them anything short of godly. But there I was coming to this realization, and there she was bored in line at A&P. My mother wasn't my property; she wasn't only "my mom." She was a human being. Right then and there my hormone-infested, self-absorbed, juvenile brain realized: My mother's sole purpose in life was not to accommodate mine, but that she in fact, had one of her own.

Since that moment, anytime I see a mom laboring to turn into my lane, I slow down and let her go. I give up my seat to the woman whose daughter is biting her ear on the subway. And anytime my mom calls me, I pick up... no matter how much the woman I'm talking to looks like Jessica Biel (she never does). They 're small showings of appreciation for the things mothers do for their oblivious children on a daily basis, and, in a way, for all the things my mom does for me.

If you really want to make a difference and directly help women and mothers around the world, make a donation to the RaiseForWomen Challenge. Your donation can go to a mom in Kenya or maybe even a woman on your block. Don't forget a woman wears many more uniforms besides "mom" (even if that's her favorite one).