Mother’s Day. What springs to your mind when I say that? Brunch? Flowers? Perhaps a huge family gathering with Hallmark cards and candies?
Not me. I think of a few words that made everything wonderful. 23 words, to be exact.
Words are so powerful. We have millions of them, different sounds in different languages, and depending on how they are aligned, they send different messages. Candies, cards and brunches are lovely. But a few words, whispered or shared in a particular way, can make everything in your world better.
6:15 am, I rolled over in bed to hear my cell phone making sounds. When Jaime sends me a text using What’s App (http://www.whatsapp.com/) from Austria, I know it’s her. And I’m smiling before I even open my eyes. I struggle to find my glasses and position the phone so I can read those tiny words…”Mom, let’s Skype as soon as you get up”. So up I get, coffee is on, and I settle into the chair to Skype with my wee one. We talk about her work, my work, the dogs, soccer, more soccer, Alex Ferguson and Man U, more soccer, and my summer trip. One hour, then somehow two hours pass. My bum is sore from the hard chair, and I’m hungry and ready to eat. So as I get ready to finish our conversation, she says the first 11 words of the day that make my heart stand still: “Mom, I wish I could spend the day with you today”.
Just 11 little words. Nothing fancy, long or detailed. We’d shared many more over the past 2 hours. But those 11 words had me grinning ear to ear, and all teared up.
Then Rory leaves a message to tell me he’s on his way home. I had thought he was visiting friends north of me, and was on his way down to my house. Then another phone call and he tells me he’s close to the Grange Sideroad. The Grange is south of me. What you need to know is that Rory’s sense of direction is, well, unusual. North, south, east and west don’t really compute for him. When he was younger, I used to send Jaime with him to do errands. Jaime was born with an innate sense of direction, and she could always find her way home. If they were together, I didn’t have to worry. But without his Jaime or GPS, no one can be sure where Rory will end up!
So why was he south of me when he was coming from the north? Apparently he didn’t go to Tottenham, and was coming up from Toronto. Well, why are you doing that, I asked? Then came the rest of the important words: “Because I just want to spend the whole day with you, Mom”.
12 words. Nothing more. No flowers, no chocolates, no brunch reservations. But nothing, absolutely nothing could mean more to me that those words.
Words have been known to incite war, to calm a crying baby, to effect change anywhere and everywhere. Words can wound or heal, they can delight or damage. At home, at work, words, both written or uttered, are the cornerstones of our communication. The way they are organized or the way they are spoken influences their meaning. The words of Gandhi, of the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, and so many others echo in our collective minds with stories of peace, hope and love.
But it is those 23 individual words from my daughter and from my son that light up my life. They could have celebrated Mother’s Day with gifts of flowers and food. Instead, they lit up my life from within, giving me their gift of words. Today, when you are talking, remember how powerful and packed with meaning your words may be. Choose them carefully, so that your intended message is clear and definitive.
If you hear something like my 23 words, consider yourself blessed.