Monday, January 26, 2009

Call your mama

I have a freshman in college, and phone calls from her are treasured. Moms can only live off the “no news is good news” adage for so long, and then we start do what moms do best—worry.

The longer the wait in between phone calls (or e-mails or texts), the bigger the worries grow. Although I’m sure I’ve thought of every scenario, I’ve lived long enough to realize those aren’t the things I need to worry about. It’s the unexpected, unimagined things that turn our world upside down. Ironically, those often start with a phone call.

I had a call like that last spring. It was from my dad. My mother, who is active and young, suffered a severe stroke. She’d felt dizzy all day, I later learned. That was her only warning sign.

She spent 48 days in the hospital, most of it in the ICU. I went to see her during visiting hours, but I soon found that one of the things I missed the most was talking to her on the phone. There were several times I’d even pick it up and start dialing before it dawned on me that she was in a hospital bed.

I missed not being able to call her to tell her something funny that my son said, or which store was having a big sale, or who I discovered is “having coffee” with whom. I remember my mom used to call my grandmother, and they would talk for hours, sometimes to my dad’s exasperation. I would always wonder what they could talk about for so long. Now I know it doesn’t have to be anything.

Thankfully, my mom has made a full recovery. Some days we talk three or four times a day. And on the days we don’t—I worry.

My daughter called today from college, and I listened to her talk for nearly an hour. Her cell phone hadn’t been working, and it turns out that’s why I hadn’t heard from her. Funny that was one scenario I didn’t think of!

So, if you are fortunate enough, don’t wait until you have something important to say, or until you have more time to talk, and, certainly, don’t wait until Mother’s Day, go ahead, pick up the phone, and call your mama. Chances are she’s probably worried about you.

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