Friday, February 20, 2009


My teenage daughter was excited to be such a responsible driver that she could pick me up from the airport today. I had been gone for a week, with Grammie holding down the fort and taking care of the dog. As I awaited Meredith's arrival at baggage claim, I watched all the reunions taking place: hugs and kisses, horns honking, suitcases being flung into trunks. I knew this afternoon would be a blissful time at home. However, things in our house had changed slightly during the week, and suddenly I wasn't such a welcome sight. Mom's return meant more structure and maybe even more chores.

As the afternoon progressed, the girls and I went into a tailspin, a complete and total meltdown. Nobody was being nice to each other, Max even started barking at us--it's true! I didn't feel at all appreciated, and the girls said they didn't feel respected. We had invaded each other's space. I took a time out by going to the grocery store, but when I pulled into the parking lot I realized I was too cranky to shop. I picked up my cell phone and called my mom to say hello. At first, I felt like telling her how difficult life can be with teenagers, but I knew she had a wonderful time with them. I didn't want to disillusion her. I asked her about an upcoming trip and she proceeded to tell me how difficult life can be dealing with senior citizens!

By the end of the phone call, I had snapped out of my funk and was ecstatic to be dealing with people who are growing up and not growing old. I realized that in my reaching out to Mom for comfort, I had become the listening ear. All these years of her calling me to see how I was doing, and this was one of the few times when I felt like she was glad the roles appeared to reverse. I never told her my reason for calling, my breakdown in the parking lot. (When she reads this, she'll find out, oops!)

Perhaps I am at the point now where I can offer calls of solace instead of waiting for others to reach out to me. I can think of so many occasions when I was struggling with the latest trial, or even just a momentary difficulty, and the phone would ring. Often, I had just been thinking about the person on the other line, but didn't think I had the time to call. I've never figured out how that works; my credit goes to serendipity and grace. I wish I could write a list of all the people in my life who have called at "just the right time." I would send them all a big thank you! Better yet, I could pick up the phone and without multi-tasking, simply give them my undivided attention.

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