Over the years I’ve developed this habit of finding any excuse to run an errand. Oh, we’re out of stamps? I’m on it. What’s that, hunny? The water softener needs salt? Be back in twenty.
It’s my mini escape disguised as a productive favor and I love it. I love choosing the radio station, cracking the window ever so slightly, and how magically seamless I can get in and out of my crossover without wrangling two adorable crocodiles out of their carseats. Probably the most habitual, I love calling my mom for our routine chat about nothing in particular.
Not all habits are bad.
Perhaps our calls would be less frequent if we still lived close to one another, but I have a feeling we’d still talk on the phone regularly. She was the hardest part of leaving coastal California…and if you’ve ever experienced the sun sinking into the majestic Pacific you understand the magnitude of that statement. Moving away from her feels like betrayal and loneliness and sometimes like a ghost limb. And when I became a mother a few years ago? Forget about it, that made the relocation all the more painful for both parties. These days our 1,900 mile distance is temporarily curtailed by the quick and casual catch up. If only for a few minutes it’s like we’re together in person, chatting over our morning coffee and toast.
What makes these phone calls even more special is the fact that she always picks up. Yes, I try to be mindful of the time difference, but she’s a busy woman so in a way it feels like she’s on call. For me. There’s no one else in the world who’s there for me like my mom, no matter how much I’ve grown. She’s continued to be my beaming lighthouse, guiding me to a safe harbor when the seas become tumultuous. Because of this security I’ve been undeservedly awarded, I know how important it is to pay this forward. I surely hope that when my boys are older they know I’ll always pick up the phone.
It’s not lost on me that these almost daily interactions are a privilege. I have friends grieving the loss of their dear moms, and I ache for them and the bond that is now a memory. I know they dream about their mom’s voice, and replay old voicemails just to hear her one more time.
There are women who grieve in a different sense, with mothers very much alive but maybe the relationship is strained or toxic. They’d give anything for the ten minutes of easy conversation I enjoy, and anything to have a mom like mine.
These brief chats about how grandma is doing, or our plan for the next hair appointment, or whatever I’m currently irritated with (infinite possibilities) keep us connected with each other. The more mundane our conversation, the less it feels like I’m hundreds of miles away. I can’t help but wonder if she realizes how special these phone calls are to me, and how much I cherish these snippets of home.
Come to think of it, perhaps my mini escapes aren’t about leaving the house at all. Maybe this isn’t about alone time (though yes, I do desperately need it). Maybe, just maybe, this habit of mine is about something much more significant.
So no, babe, I don’t mind picking up your prescription. I don’t mind at all.