For three weeks I procrastinated calling or contacting my mom.
I was an idiot. It’s almost too embarrassing to say: we had a verbal fight on the phone and consequently stopped speaking to each other.
It’s silly, really. She called me at work and started complaining that she had already called my cell phone and home phone and I didn’t answer. Why wasn’t I answering? And why hadn’t I called her in forever? Supposed she and her husband dropped dead in the house?
My mother enjoys being dramatic. When she used to work full-time it didn’t matter so much if or when I called. Now she only works during the tax season and she’s never available for a phone call at that time.
I tried to be calm. This wasn’t the first time our conversations would begin in this way. It absolutely irritated me. We never normally speak everyday. My life is not that interesting. But as we live in different states, I had made a conscious decision to call her once a week every week after she retired two years ago. Truth is, most of our conversations are filled with blank spots and interspersed with “ahhms” and “errrs”.
I reminded her that I had just called her on Wednesday.
She persisted: “So is that the only phone call I’m ever going to get?”
It all went downhill after that.
Voices were raised; sarcasm ran rampant.
The conversation ended with her saying that she would never call to bother me ever again. I said nothing. She hung up.
The phone call left me exasperated at first and then as days passed guilt began to creep in. By the following week, when I would have called her, I procrastinated and let the day pass because I didn’t want to have to have this conversation again.
Into the second week of silence, our last conversation invaded my waking hours and my dreams. I called my brother to ask him if he had spoken to mom and apparently he had so I guess neither she nor her husband had succumbed to “dropping dead in the house”, as she put it.
By the third week, I couldn’t take it anymore and called her from home. I assumed she just wouldn’t answer the phone if she saw it was me calling, but she did.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hi,” I said. “How’s everything?”
The conversation continued from there. We spoke for about 90 minutes, commenting on the most mundane of information: the children’s summer holidays, my husband, her husband, other family members, the weather, back to school stuff, people we both knew, people I had never met.
We ended the conversation and I promised to call again soon. I was grateful that issues from our previous conversation had not been raised here.
Ben Franklin famously said: “Lost time is never found again”. I promised myself to call mom more often, because she did have a point: anything potentially could happen to the two of them and I’d never know until it was too late.
Categories: DP Challenge