Although he will always be my child, my son is in his late thirties now. This past week has been a difficult one for him. He’s suffering through a well-lived life. As the one in charge where he works, he’s finding out he has to fill in for those who call in sick. He is moving his family to a new apartment. He had oral surgery to remove two teeth that have been painful for weeks, and his band has a late-night gig.
When he called me earlier today, he ranted about all that had to be done in the little time he had available to do it. I listened, rarely said much more than little encouraging words here and there about how lucky he is to have a job, to be a talented musician, to have such a darling two-year old daughter, etc. Once he was done ranting, I filled him in on what’s going on with us – hardly anything by comparison – and we ended the call.
About three hours later, he called again. I lurched for the phone. We never speak more than once a week or so unless there’s something horrible happening. I wondered what had blown up in his life this time, reached for the phone and held my breath. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Hello? What’s wrong?
Darek: Wrong? S**t, I dialed the wrong number. I was trying to get Kate (his girlfriend).
Me: Oh, I see, and you just get your mother, that’s ok. I probably couldn’t help anyway, you know. I’m not the greatest mom in the world, never really there when you need me anyway.
A brief pause, and then Darek says: I wanted to ask Kate if my shoes were in her car. So there! You couldn’t help me with that now, could you?
And then we both laughed. Really laughed. I had forgotten how much I loved the sound of Darek laughing, something I’ve heard too little of recently.
Darek: Bye, Mom. Love ya.
I hung up still laughing. And the echo of his laughter has stayed with me all day.