One of the great joys of having adult children is having real conversations with them. I love talking to my oldest daughter because as a teacher she is the only one who really understands my experiences in the classroom. She is also a great mom and I love to hear about her life with my granddaughter. And she’s athletic, one thing I absolutely am NOT. I love talking to my youngest daughter, the middle child J, because she shares my passion for creativity. She’s also a successful businesswoman and a great mom. She’s strong and daring, two things I am NOT. And I love talking to my son because he is the only one who really challenges my beliefs and makes me question my understanding of religion, government and politics. He’s also incredibly funny and has an amazing memory.
I know, I know…at least one of my children is reading this and saying “yeah, right”. I admit I don’t always seem like I enjoy talking to them. The problem is that in order to talk to them I usually have to spend time on the phone- not my favorite thing to do. I’ve never really liked talking on the phone. Too many years of listening to angry bill collectors. Too many years of being a switchboard operator for a major department store and listening to complaints. Too many years of counting minutes because I couldn’t pay for very many calls. And I can’t judge facial expressions or interpret feelings and intentions over the phone. And then there is the timing thing. Is it a good time to call? Are they in the middle of something? Are they on the way to a game, practice, recital, school function? I usually just wait for my children to call me because they know I live a dull, predictable, interruptible (is that a word?) life.
And I’m not good at chit-chat. I don’t know if I just don’t know their daily lives well enough, or I just expect them to tell me what they think is important enough for conversations. After years of trying not to pry into their personal lives, I guess I’ve gone too far in the other direction. After my daughter complained that I don’t call enough and don’t ask enough questions I tried a new tactic with my son. He called one evening and I started in with “So how was your day?”, etc. He stopped me in the middle of the third question and asked if I’d been drinking the cooking wine. LOL I told you he challenges me!
So I guess to my list of my failures as a mother, I have to add that I don’t call my children enough. I don’t ask enough personal questions. I don’t keep track of how long it’s been since I’ve talked to them. But it isn’t because I don’t love to talk to them. If they don’t believe me they can talk to my friends. I don’t call them either. I blog, email, and even write real cards and letters. I care…honest…I just don’t call.