My mom’s birthday was last month. On her birthday, I thought about our times together and apart. She and my aunt had moved back to Virginia when we lived there and had followed us from Roanoke to Richmond. Years later we moved to Dallas.

The picture is from Jill’s wedding in 2005, the second to last trip my mom made to Dallas.

On December 30, 2008 she passed away in a hospital room. I spent the night with her. It was one of the most emotional experiences in my life. She was blind and not doing well, but she knew I was there.

That night, I thought about the times she called me at my office. Each time she said:

“Cordell, I hope I am not troubling you…”

Each time I replied:

“Mom, you are never troubling me when you call.”

Even though I was sincere, she never really believed me. She obviously thought a busy lawyer like me could not possibly have time to talk to his mom. Her opening line told me I was not conveying very well that her place in my life was as important as any client for whom I was working.

My mother’s opening also reminded me of a story in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s book: Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life .

Even if you are not a Duke grad and do not even like basketball, it is a book worth reading. Coach K describes his mother’s call which started:

“Hi Mike, I don’t want to bother you or take up too much of your time.”

Coach K writes that he did not remember anything else about the call and only remembered that when he hung up the phone he cried.

If you are a young married lawyer with children, you are likely very family focused. You likely want to spend more time with your children than your parents spent with you. But, I ask these questions:

  1. How much time are you spending with your mom and dad?
  2. Do they think you are so busy with your law practice and children that you do not have time for them?

I ask these questions because I know from my own personal experience that when they are gone, you will wish you had spent more quality time with them.