The call came on Saturday night around 9:40pm. “Hi Mom” the familiar voice said. I stopped, smiled and without thinking found myself gravitating towards his bedroom, a place that once kept him safe every night and cocooned him from the world. But now — as a college sophomore — he had a new home, a new nest, a new place to lay his head every night.
I looked around his old room, laid on his bed, wishing desperately that he was laying there next to me asking me to scratch his head or rub his back.
“How was today?” I asked. This began the best thirty minutes of my week.
Usually we text…almost every day– to just check in or be sure he is eating enough or getting enough sleep, about his draining bank account, his upcoming papers, next quarters classes or plans for the weekend.
Usually we just talk business.
But this call was different. Neither one of us had anywhere to go or any place to rush off to so we just settled in and talked. He told me stories about where he lived, the dog that lived with him for the summer, some new friends he met recently, his failed attempts at cooking dinner. We laughed and shared. And connected. It was unfiltered and unedited. It was the way we used to talk and I found myself laying on his old bed all choked up.
I realized that night how much I missed him. I miss his hilarious laugh, his good-mornings and good-nights, his silly grin as he told stories, his interest in my day, his playful interaction with his little sister, his never ending question “what’s for dinner,” the sound of his size 15 feet lumbering down the hall towards my room to tell me something, and most important, I missed his voice.
Texting keeps us in contact, but talking actually connects us.
There is great value in talking to each other, but texting has taken the place of conversation. People don’t talk, they type. We guess people’s emotions because we can’t hear them. We connect through words, not voices. But LOL doesn’t compare to actual laughter or an emoji doesn’t make my heart smile the way his husky voice does. And hearing him tell a story, complete with voice fluctuations and emotion is like medicine for my soul. It soothes me.
Hanging up that night I felt full. It was a better full than Thanksgiving night. I was full of love, not food. I had talked to the little boy who made me sing to him every night as a little kid, the little boy who said his prayers out loud, and the little boy whose voice called me mom for the first time.
Hearing his voice brought it all back and even though I missed him terribly and he was still living somewhere else, I felt closer to him than I had in a long time. I gave him a hug with my words and hearing him say “Love you mom” before he hung up filled a void in my heart I forgot was there.
It was the best thirty minutes because for a brief time, it was as if nothing had changed.