I am all for open communication and my college-ridden son Bart tries hard calling me regularly:
B: He calls on Monday, “Mom, hi, I am on my way to classes, sorry have to go, the bus is here, “
“I didn’t know you take the bus, I thought you are walking.”
B: “I’ve got to hang up now… ”
Then he calls Tuesday, “I am running and holding the phone, and I can’t really talk to you, call you later, bye, I love you…later.”
And on Wednesday night he speaks hushed stage whisper, “I am in a library, everybody is studying and they may suspend my library card for disturbing peace.”
“Sure, so why are you calling?
“To tell you I’ll talk to you -- later ….bye now.”
Why do I need to know that, I wonder, and it is awful noisy in this library. I am standing with the phone in my hand like a betrayed lover -- long signal buzzing -- put on-hold indefinitely. Later is my middle name. Some are Mothers Superior. I am Mom Later.
Ssome time between then and now I would make it to the enviable destination: the reef of Belize, Matterhorn, Trinidad -- Tobago , or the snowy beaches of Vail -- Colorado. And that adds a tangible benefit to motherhood. It is as good as life gets. My phone, under the circumstances, is a non-item in but it rings. And it is my son calling in the middle of his biology class. He has all the time to talk “ What’s the weather like” and “How is spring skiing, is the powder puffy enough for you, are the clouds snow friendly? Is the China Bowl as deep as it used to be? Is the hot cocoa real in the Two-Elk Lodge?”
I jump on the opportunity , telling him about lift #11 and the Highline Run, that looks like a gently rolling sea from a chairlift seat. A couple 3-year-olds “Reminded me so much of you, remember?” zipping down in no time like telescoped ninjas, playing hide and seek with the bumps, “And here I am, hanging to the bulging white half-way down an hour later, resting every 5 minutes, figuring how to pitch a tent to overnight on the moguls. They have a bronze sculpture of a resting bear at the base next to the ticket office: his front paws are thrown to the right, his hind leg is bent, he looks spent. At the end of the day my legs are like cotton, so soft I want to stay with this bear.” He doesn’t think it is funny -- because it isn’t.
And then we both zoom in, “Remember the Deer Valley sticker you brought me. Could you bring me one from Vail and Beaver Creek, the places we’ve skied ? ” The Weee word softens the ice I stand on, he remembers…
Big gifts come in small packages. My all grown-up son takes time to call asking me for a sticker. It brings back a memory of a bank teller offering me a lollypop. My account is overdrawn, they shut my water for non-payment, and my otherwise bilingual dog is in psychological distress for damping on him Spanish-speaking sitter while I am gone. Lollypop does sound great.