Call your Mother.
When I call my Mom these days, I have not seen her in over a month, she sometimes picks up, she sometimes chooses not.
She says, “I can’t hear you.” A lot.
Just as I say, “do you have your hearing aids in?” she speaks at the same time, laughing, saying, “O hang on, Kate, I have to get my hearing aids in.”
After almost two full minutes, I listen carefully for fear she may fall on her way, she gets back on the phone and then says, “OK honey, say something.”
I do, and she says, “Oooo, darn, I still can’t hear you. Let me check something.” Another two minutes as she changes the batteries on her hearing aid.”OK, try it now.”
“Oooo, I still can’t hear ya, Kate…Funny, I can always hear the boys.”
I speak louder, I feel like I am yelling. She feels like she is being yelled at.
Rather than tell her what I am up to, I now ask her questions, so she can tell me things I never knew.
My first question is a trick question, “Which of us four kids do you love best?”
My Mother loves to laugh.
And her sense of humor has gotten her through a lifetime of heartache.
She often trails off and says, “so anyway,” and I know that is a time to transition to the next question.
One of the next questions, for our next call, is, “What lesson do you most want to pass on to others?”
She was a teacher for many years, and she’s a wickedly smart woman.
Her poetry and delicate watercolors, which she almost always disparaged and said, “O they’re no good–why do you insist on putting that up on your wall?” touch my heart in untold ways.
I love my Mother.
I don’t always understand her, and we haven’t always liked each other.
But every time I speak to her, she always, always tells me she loves me.
And she never fails to tell me how proud she is of me, “of all of you kids.”
“You four are my life’s work.”
To have a Mother, alive, and sometimes kicking.
If you can, call your Mother.
Or talk to her just the same.
She will hear you.
She loves you.
Believe it or not: You were her life’s work.