By: David Ball
I’ve always found birthdays to be a bit ironic. Everyone celebrates that you were born, but it isn’t like we played any role in coming into existence. That’s why every year I try and thank the people who helped me make it another year and reach out to them to express some level of gratitude, on the top of the list every year? My mom.
I’m now older than both of my parents when they had me and my twin brother. My mom, also a twin, is the one who would teach us how to catch Garden Snakes, or how to run down steep sections of trails without our feet sliding out from under us. She donated to the “David Wants to Learn to Lead Climb but Wants a Helmet First Foundation” when I first started college in northern Utah and came to my graduation jump, straight from my great Aunt’s funeral, for my skydiving license. She’s always been in my corner, from school to the next sport I want to get into, which is why I’m frustrated to look back and realize so much of it went unnoticed and gratitude expressed once a year isn’t nearly enough.
When I got my first job out of school, need life advice, bought a house, any of those big life events, the first person I call? My dad. I call him for advice on home repairs, on dealing with family or navigating a tricky work situation. He still calls me every Sunday evening to catch up. As I’ve gotten older and farther removed from my years at home I’m realizing that while my mom was the steady foundation everything was built on I all too rarely took the time to recognize her for it. Why don’t I call her from the top of desert tower climbs on Facetime instead of my dad? She’s the one who actually wants to come with me on those trips. Maybe it’s because, for sons, the expectations are often set by our dads. They’re the major authority figures in our lives.
There’s a lot of pressure right now to recognize our biases in all aspects of our lives. Work that is worth doing, I believe. My mom never set expectations for us to meet while my dad definitely did, and so I’m still trying to meet them in many ways while my mom is still just “so, so happy” that we thought to call and talk with her for a while about how life is going. Is it something in the nature of love given so freely that makes us not feel like giving that same attention back?
My brother recently told me that moms are like the soundtracks to good movies, they aren’t always in the foreground but they can add so much to making a film the masterpiece that it is, while dads are often times more like the producers.
I love my mom, she is definitely the award-winning soundtrack to our family that all too often goes unnoticed. I’m glad that I’m finally starting to open my eyes to the work and love she puts into everything she does for us and I’m excited to, more consistently do the same for her. From climbing trips to long phone calls. Mothers have it the hardest, and they deserve all we can give them.
I’ve loved this section from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Rilke for years, and this Mother’s Day I had the chance to call and read it to my mom, while thanking her for all she’s done in my life. I think mom’s everywhere can read it and feel how true it is, and sons everywhere can read it and recognize how much work they still have to do.
“It is good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all work is merely preparation.”
About the Author:
David considers himself the ambassador of the “Radically Mediocre” lifestyle. He defines this as being able to “hang with people doing just about anything and not slow them down.” You can find him trying to get people to talk to him about the book he just read in coffee shops, or in the western U.S. getting pumped out on scary trad leads (and follows), skydiving, split-boarding and trail running in his home mountain range, the Wasatch, with his dog Margo. Follow him on instagram at @DavidDenverBall.