As I get older and my own kids leave the house to venture into the world, I realize how much I really can relate to my mom. I didn’t realize how much we were alike until the other night.
I call my parents every other day to check in on them, see how things are going, and make sure neither of them are ill. I even attempt to convince them to downsize their house and move closer to me by luring them with the idea of being in close proximity of the VA clinic, the town is older and has many activities for retirees, and they can see their grandkids whenever they want. To this day, that endeavor has not been a success.
Most of my calls are in the early afternoon to my parents; however, I have called mid-morning if my day is going to be busy and that afternoon call would be almost impossible. Never have I called after 9. I can still hear my parents stating, “No one needs to tell you anything important if the call can’t be made before bedtime.” This was a regular comment growing up in a house full of girls who constantly were on the phone. Imagine my surprise when my mom called at 1030 one night…
The sound of Cookie Monster singing, “C is for Cookie” invades the living room where I left my cell phone after returning from soccer practice. I had settled down in my bedroom reading the latest self-help book with a catchy title that I picked up at the bookstore. Boy number three and my husband were involved in a serious FIFA battle game against each other, but when that phone rang and I announced in a panic, “Grab my handy, that’s Neen and Pop’s number.”
Boy number 3 runs my phone to me and I answer. “Hello?” I hear my mother’s stifled laughter on the other end of the line, followed by “Did I wake you?” After assuring Mom that I wasn’t asleep nor was she bothering me, I asked if everything there was okay. Mom, apparently oblivious to the time answered, “Of course, I’m sitting here watching a show and I think you need to watch too. It’s on the ‘Life Channel.'” Together, we perform the process of elimination to figure out exactly what channel was the “Life Channel,” and I located the LIFETIME channel on my television. The show…Kim of Queens, a show about a woman who prepares girls and teenagers for pageants. Mother informs me that I missed the hilarious parts, but she has already gone through the menu and found that the show replays at 1 a.m., so I can catch up on it. Feeling much more relieved that nothing was wrong at parents’ house, I laughed and checked out the show a little. It was hilarious and perhaps it was my curiosity that wouldn’t allow me to sleep that caused me to catch the replay at 1 a.m.
After living overseas in different countries with my husband, I missed the silly phone calls to and from home. Sure there was communication, but typically the calls were to check in, fill each other in on what’s going on in family member’s lives, wish a happy birthday or holiday, and exchange new addresses. Now, living in one place permanently, I am afforded the opportunity to laugh at the silliness and plan the trip to help out when they are ill.
Our call ends, but just before my mom hangs up, I hear my mom say, “You know I love you, Patty.” This sounded different than any other farewell we had had on the phone and I got a little choked up but I replied, “Of course, and I love you too, Mom.”