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  • Rachel Allen Dillon

Phone Calls - On the Calendar

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

I don't like going more than a week without talking to my kids. Some friends tell me their kids call them multiple times a week. Not me. Nope. I have to text and schedule time with my kids; otherwise, the space between calls becomes unbearably long. They are focused people, and I respect that and I'm okay with shifting my needs as theirs shift.

My Son

One shocking discovery this past year is how much my son likes to talk on the phone with me. He's my quiet introvert, happy to ride in the car for an hour and say nothing. He frequently provides me with one to two-word text messages, for example, Me: "How was your day?" Him: "Good."

I figured phone calls would be like his texts once he went to college. I couldn't believe it when one of our first phone conversations lasted over an hour. And then, to my surprise, it became a pattern. Our calls cover what he plans to do during his week, how school is going, what book or music he's into, and new life lessons, like a horrible roommate. He enjoys debating deep and philosophical topics, flexing his newfound knowledge. He asks me how I am and wants to hear what has happened in my life. This connection has been one of the bright stars in my empty nest.

My Daughter

I'm grateful for any time with my daughter over the phone. Texts are great between calls, but much is lost in translation without verbal time. My daughter takes after me in the busy department. She maximizes her time between school, friends, hiking, volunteering, research, and a part-time job. When we talk, she's usually doing something else at the time, like driving, cooking, or walking home from class. I love to hear her stories, and I'm fascinated by her adventures. She celebrates her successes with me and asks my opinion when she's unsure, which I breathe in like air.

I accept that I'm a smaller piece of her life puzzle right now. I make sure she knows I'm always here to listen, cheer her on, and give her advice based on my life experiences when asked. The greatest gift I can give her right now is to be present when she needs me and some funds when she deserves a treat.

I included a picture of a seashell I found over the summer. It was home to some critter that moved on to bigger and better things; at least, that's what I like to imagine. It also carries the sound of the ocean inside. When you put it up to your ear, you can't help but feel where the shell is from. It's similar to talking to my children. When I hear their voices, they aren't far away. They are always home in my heart.

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