Unfortunately, my wife and I were not in the same country last night so we had to spend evening texting…
Anna: Happy New Year! xo
Sam: Happy New Year! I love you!
Anna: Wish we were ringing in a snowy new year together.
Sam: Me, too. xooxox
Henry: Could you guys take this elsewhere!
Anna: Oh, shit. We’re on group text.
Sam: Oops. Better ramp up the sexting on another channel.
Quinn: For the love of god!
Henry: Heading to roof for suicide attempt.
When the kids were living at home, we never picked up the phone. Ever. It wasn’t even a screening situation, we just didn’t pick up. Now that they’re gone, we screen, but only because we’re hoping it’s one of them calling. (As if)
Marital discord followed this shift in phone behavior. When one of the kids finally called, we got on the phone together. Big mistake. She hated it when I interrupted to make boy-centric cracks. I hated having to hold the reciever away from my ear when she spoke. Bickering and changes in sleeping arrangements followed.
As mature parents do, we moved on to a new communication modality, talking to the caller separately, one after the other. The problem here was that the first one to the phone got an animated conversation, fresh and full of detail. The second one got Carl from “Sling Blade”, begrudgingly repeating the same details in monotone, or, worse, got blown off entirely with “I gotta go. Mom will tell you everything.”
So, I’m done. No more racing across the house to get to the phone first. No more wrestling my partner for the receiver. From now on, I’m going with covert calling. Shut the office door. Dial up the offspring and have a lengthy and fulfilling conversation that I can gloat about over dinner.
Now all I have to do is figure out a way to get the kids to pick up…
This morning, first thing, we took Sylvie and hiked into the mountains to an old oak tree that, like a queen, rules the ridge between Sullivan and Rustic canyons. It’s our favorite hike.
Seven years ago, we agreed to leave Los Angeles when Eliot graduated from high school. What once seemed impossibly far off is now near – something that will happen as soon as our canyon’s sycamores leaf out again and her jasmine blooms.
My New Year’s resolution is to lighten our load, to let go of everything I don’t want or need so that I just carry the things that matter when we set out on our new path.
Wherever it leads us.
I spent a good bit of time working on a post for today and thought that, with just a few inspired editorial tweaks it would be good to go. So I sent it off to Sam.
In no time, he arrived at my desk. I looked up hopefully, expecting praise and the aforementioned small tweaks.
“I don’t like it.” He said tactfully.
“It’s too repetitive. We can’t keep going on and on about how empty the nest is and how sad that makes us. We’re going to bore people.”