A Good Call

A Good Call

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

A Good Call

I want this to be a good telephone call, I said to myself. My son Steve was on the phone. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and I missed him. I wanted to see his face in front of me. I wanted to put my arms around him, as if he were a little boy again. I wanted to tell him that even though he was a grown man, the mother in me comes alive when we are together.

But I wanted this to be a good call. No pressure. No guilt. No whining. He lives away from home. There were no children left for me to tend. The bedrooms were now empty, but I still thought of his bedroom as his.

I remembered calling my parents after I left home. Sometimes the calls weren’t good. I would hang up feeling guilty about this or that, not visiting enough, not calling enough, not doing one thing or another enough. I promised myself I would not do that to my children. After all, I was a liberated woman, a mother of the nineties, much more aware, more sensitized, more independent then those of yesteryear. I had a career, a healthy support group of friends. I drove my own car. I knew better than to complain.

So I wanted this to be a good call. I talked about the weather, about my work, about his job, about any interesting topics of the day. I tried to be pleasant and pushed down the words, “I miss you.” I suffocated the plea, “I need to see you.” I kept silent the complaint, “Of course, I know you’re busy, but I truly don’t care. I want to see your face like I want to see tomorrow’s sunrise, or like I need to breathe.”

I wanted this to be a good call, yet there were fears that have slept with me all night. The rooms were too empty. The walls still echoed of stories told to my young children years ago. Could my son tell me something to make me feel better? He was young and filled with energy for the future. Perhaps he could share some of it with me? Oh, how nice it would be if I could sit across from him. Perhaps then nothing might need be said, as his presence would be enough.

The words fought with me, and I felt them winning, but I wanted this to be a good call. I know all the reasons I shouldn’t say what I wanted to say. I know it is natural for children to leave their parents. I realize it’s the way it’s supposed to be, that they form their own lives. I was going to be a today’s woman, self-sufficient, needing nothing but my ability to make it on my own two feet.

But I’ve run out of strength and resolve. The call had lasted too long. My self-control was ebbing. “I miss you,” I wailed into the telephone. “How long do I have to wait until I see your face?”

Just like any mother from the beginning of time.

Harriet May Savitz

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