Daily Calls With Someone Special Change Everything
When I was in my 20s, my mom would be vigilant (militant?) about having me call her when I went out. I dismissed her requests as an over reaction. Or a role she felt compelled to play simply because she had the title “mom.”
What I didn’t know very well is that my mom talks to her mom every single day. She also lives next door to Grandma. So many days, Mom sees Grandma face-to-face. My grandmother called her mother every day. I had no idea they all stayed so closely connected to one another. Up until recently, I made all of the excuses to myself for why I didn’t talk to my mom more than once a week (if that). There were sometimes many weeks that went by when I hadn’t made verbal contact. I was busy. She was busy. I didn’t have anything new to share. I was tired. We’'ll see each other in a few weeks, it can wait until then. I figured that level of interaction was pretty normal and that we both got everything we needed when we did speak.
Back in April, we were up north to start situating our furniture in our new cottages. We had breakfast with my parents and my mom half-joked with me about how little we speak to each other. She has never complained about it or made it a point of contention between us, so I never really took her very seriously when she would comment on it. But this time, something compelled me to “call her bluff”. I told her if she wants me to call every day then she’s going to get a call every day. And while I have missed a day or two here or there, I’ve been calling my mom almost every single day since April 20.
What I’ve realized is the joke is on me. We don’t usually have too much to talk about. But we always have something to talk about. Some plan to iron out or reiterate. Some new development with Stella or work. Some idea for what we’ll do the next time we see each other. I feel a much deeper connection with my mom than I ever thought a silly phone call could deliver. We texted. We exchanged Facebook messages. She reads my blog. We spoke occasionally. All of those things tricked me into believing I was getting all I could need from my relationship with my mother. But I was wrong. I need so much more. I need to hear her voice. I need to know what’s going on in her life. I need her to know what’s going on in mine. And no amount of digital interaction can come even remotely close to what those phone calls have been able to achieve in just a few short months.
No matter how many texts you exchange with someone, nothing can replace hearing their voice. Catching up. Getting the scoop. And having them tell you all about it with their tone and nuance. We might not believe it but words on a screen are flat and emotionless. No emoji can capture an inflection or a subtle catch in someone’s throat or a smile they know you can’t see but you can hear.
Do me a big favor. Call someone you love. Do it today. Do it tomorrow and the next day. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you have been craving an emotional connection that is lost for so many of us in the digital abyss.