A friend of mine is grieving the loss of her mother this week. She sent out a simple, yet heartfelt message that said: “If it’s been a bit since you’ve talked to someone you love…. pick up the phone and say I love you.”
I’ve been thinking about that this week.
Pick up the phone and say I love you.
It’s the kind of message we’ve all heard a hundred times: Hug the ones you love. Hold your kids close today. Call your mom.
And I think sometimes we make it more complex than it really is.
Here’s what I mean:
I hear: Pick up the phone and say I love you.
And I think, guilt coming in quick now: ‘Ah, shoot yeah I should go down and have dinner at my mom’s house. When will that be possible? Ugh, that’s not going to work for a while, she’s traveling, UGH I should have called her before she left, now she’ll be too busy, she probably doesn’t want me to call while she’s on trip.”
What? Really? Brain – chill! Just call your mom and say I love you! What mom wouldn’t want to hear that??
Somehow we complicate something which is actually just that simple.
We get wrapped up in perfectionism, trying to “get it right” when it come to connection, and miss out on opportunities to strengthen our relationships with the people we love.
We need “connection, not perfection.”
As I go into this year looking for alignment (my word for 2018), I think about how my daily actions align with my deepest values. One of those values is to build strong connections with my family.
The funny thing is – I still frequently need reminders about ‘connection, not perfection‘.
I realized this the other night when I was reading a Babybug to my 7 year old.
Babybug, if you haven’t seen these little magazine books before, is geared towards toddlers. It’s very simple with beautiful pictures and a handful of little poems or tiny VERY short stories each month (by very short I mean – like 2 or three sentences).
Lately we’ve been reading one or two of these a night. She’s got a basket by her bed.
And these have been waking up my Should Mama (do you have one of these too?) I hear my Should Mama in my head saying:
I should be reading more complex books to her – aren’t; these a little too easy? I mean – is she really getting anything out of this? Why am I so lame about bedtime reading? I should get her to bed earlier and get the boys to bed and then read for a longer time to her!
The other night I noticed those shoulds.
And then I noticed something else:
My daughter next to me…
Her body relaxing, her face with an open smile as she pointed out pictures she remembered from when she was little.
The way she has complete delight in doing the finger rhymes with me – they’re much easier to memorize now that she’s older and they turn into a sweet way for us to giggle and play together.
What she’s getting out of this time is connection to me.
I came back to my bed and told my husband what I realized – that sure, other books might be nice, but that by being there reading with her I was showing my love, and because the books are so simple and short, they are getting read which is what works for us right now.
So – this goes back to the simplicity of call the person and say I love you. It doesn’t have to be more complex than that.
Sure, one day you might get on a plane and visit.
One day you might write a long letter and send printed pictures.
One day you might know the right words to heal old hurts, or the right questions to ask…
Maybe those things will happen….but maybe they won’t, and you’ll miss your chance.
What can you do today? Right now?
Take that small step that strengthens the bridge of connection.
Call the person you love, and say I love you.
This is connection, not perfection.
Dedicated to Dayna Abraham in celebration of your mother’s life. Thanks for the reminder about what matters most.