on the phone with mom

I Just got off of the phone with my mom. She's all the way out in San Diego—about as far as you can get from here and still be in the continental US—living with my brother Matt and his wife Stacey.

Our chats are short but frequent. She asks me what I'm up to and then I ask her the same and we go around and around like that for ten or fifteen minutes. Our conversation is peppered with laughter and comments from her like, "you betcha," and "that sounds like a good idea," and "I think you're probably correct," and lots of, "ditto." I realized today that from Mom's perspective language must be like learning a new one in that it appears a lot easier for her to understand than to speak.

Mom usually starts by asking where I am living and I tell her in Maine and she wonders when I'll be coming to visit. She can't travel by herself anymore because of the Alzheimer's and Calvin hasn't traveled to the west coast since before he was two because of the epilepsy. So she hasn't seen him since the last time she came out here nearly six years ago. I let her know that I'm hoping to visit in the fall, perhaps for her eighty-third birthday. "Ooooh, that would be terrific," she says with a smile in her voice.

Before hanging up we exchange copious I love yous and then I tell her to punch Matt for me. "He's not here right now, but I will when I see him." We laugh, say I love yous again and I hang up the phone with a satisfied feeling, the kind one gets after talking to the best mom in the world. Too bad Calvin won't know her, I think.

But come to think of it, he'll know her through me. I think I take after her and that makes me, and Calvin, pretty damn lucky in most every way.

Matt, Mom and me in Maine, 2005

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