THE SONIC BOOMER
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day I eagerly anticipate every year because, by law, my children have to talk to me.
Don’t get me wrong. We talk all the time. But now that they’re grown, it’s more like, “Big meeting Tuesday night.” “Do you need a sitter?” “Yes, at 6.” “I’ll be there.” “Thanks.”
That was my daughter. Here’s my son: “Made your web site changes.” “Thanks, Charlie. And how are you?” “Eeh. Hey, I gotta go. Bye.”
You see what I mean? We get the job done, but there’s no conversation. And I can’t even blame them. When they do have time to talk? I’m often too busy myself. I try, but I’m distracted, so then the conversation goes like this: “Hey, mom, guess what? I actually have time to talk!” “Oh, and I’m so happy to hear from y — yes, plastic is fine for the wet stuff. But could you put the cereal in paper? And how are the kids? Oh, not your kids, I’m talking to my daughter. Hello? Hello? Bad signal. I’ll have to call her back. The white SUV on the left. Oh, you’re back! Well, hey, I’ve gotta tip this bagboy. You’re at work now anyway? OK. Later.”
When I call back later, it’s the opposite: “Hey, Jen! Just calling you back.”
“I’m at Tessie’s preschool — Tessie! Don’t open that gate! Where are the teachers at this place? Oh, there… Mrs. Sanders, the kids are trying to open the gate! Be with you in a minute, mom. A boo-boo? Oh, no! Are you coming for dinner tonight, mom? Wait. Wait. That paint is dripping onto my shoes, Tess. Let me hold that for — got it. No. Oops. Oh, darn it! I’ll have to call you back. Click.”
Although there is no click. The phone just goes dead. No idea if Tess ran into the street in front of a speeding truck or simply got paint on Jen’s dress. Either way, I’ll never know. There will be four business-as-usual phone calls between this and the next real conversation.
So, on Mother’s Day, I clear my calendar and sit back and wait for the kids to call. Then I try to listen, listen, listen instead of prattling on about my day.
Then I get to call my mom. That’s the time for prattling. I try to be polite, asking about her life and how dad’s doing. But because she is the best mom in the universe (and, yes, I know you have your own opinion on that) she will ask me an open-ended question, and I’m off. The last time I called, dad came into the room on her end and whispered to her, “If you’re on the phone, how come you’re not talking?”
“It’s Debbie,” she whispered back.
I never heard this exchange. She had to tell me about it. I was too busy talking.
Maybe this Sunday I’ll let her talk.
That would be a great Mother’s Day gift for us both.