May 13, 2002
Love and Long-Distance


The first call comes in at 2:26 p.m., as I'm shaking off the cobwebs from my Sunday afternoon nap.

The Call Wave screen pops up in the middle of the computer monitor while I'm pricing sleeveless cycling jerseys on the Team Estrogen website. You have an incoming call! it announces grandly. Moments later, it plays back the recorded message.

"I know you're probably online," says a disembodied teenage voice, floating toward me from the tinny PC speakers. "But if you get this message, give me a call back, OK?"

Of course I unplug from the Internet immediately and pick up the phone and dial TicTac.

"So how's your Mother's Day going so far?" asks Son #Only.

"I rode 54 miles this weekend!" I reply.

"Wow!" he says, sounding moderately impressed. Five-Years-Ago Mom would still be in her bathrobe at 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Of course, what I don't tell him is that the 54 miles were split between two days: 33 miles on Saturday, 21 this morning ... nor do I tell him that all of this hard and fast riding has left me so wiped out, I'm drinking triple-bagged/quadruple-sugared Fast Lane Tea just to stay vertical.

Let's allow him to be impressed without qualification, shall we?

We chit-chat for a few minutes, in our familiar Mom-and-Kyle way. How's school? Fine. How's his dad? Fine. How's the weather in TicTac? Fine. He apologizes for not having sent a card or a gift for Mother's Day -- "I suck at that kind of stuff," he explains, quite unnecessarily -- and I remind him that he still owes me a copy of the video he shot while he was visiting us last month.

"That would be the perfect present," I tell him. "Whenever you get around to it."

He promises that he will burn me a copy of the video and get it into the mail 'soon.' Then he wishes me a Happy Mother's Day, once again, we say "I love you" and we hang up the phone, more or less simultaneously. I sit there in front of the computer for the next little while, feeling all warm and fuzzy and gooey in the center.

I love Mother's Day.

Thank you, Jaymi!
~ with my mothers day flowers ~

The second call comes in shortly after 5 p.m., as I'm shaking off the cobwebs from my other Sunday afternoon nap.

David is spending the day at his parents' house in Walnut Creek -- I visited my mother-in-law on Saturday, after our bike ride, so I am excused from Mother's Day duty today -- and I've had a whole, long, lazy afternoon to myself. Most of it had been spent asleep, but a day off is a day off is a day off.) When the phone rings, I am broiling a chicken breast and boiling a package of frozen peas for my solitary Mother's Day dinner.

"How's your Mother's Day going so far?" chirps Daughter #1, calling me from her cell phone.

"I rode 54 miles this weekend!" I say.

"Wow!" she says, sounding genuinely impressed. Five-Years-Ago Mom used to get into her car and drive the one-sixteenth of a mile to the grocery store for her Sunday box of wine. Of course, what I don't tell her is that I grumbled and garrumphed for most of the Saturday portion of the ride, complaining about the heat, the bugs, the hills, the bike ... nor do I tell her that my butt muscles are so sore this afternoon that I can't even sit down and go tinky-winkle without screaming.

(Some things are just TMI.)

We chit-chat for a few minutes, in our familiar Mom-and-Jaymi way. How's the new job? Good. How's the new carpet? Good. How's Joel? Good.I thank her again for the flowering plant she sent to my office last week, and for the gorgeous suede jacket she special-ordered for me from Old Navy. (She watched me try the jacket on last month, while we were shopping in downtown San Francisco: apparently she made note of the wistful look on my face as I hung it back on the rack.) She reminds me that I still owe her a digital photo of me wearing the new jacket.

"I'll send it soon," I promise.

She wishes me a Happy Mother's Day, once again ... we exchange heartfelt "I love you's" ... and we hang up the phone, more or less at the same moment. I stand there in the middle of the kitchen for the next little while, absentmindedly rubbing my aching butt, feeling all warm and maternal and psychically connected to my firstborn, even from a thousand miles away.

Have I mentioned how much I love Mother's Day?


      *      *      *      *      *      *


The third and final phone call comes in at 10 p.m., as I'm laying in bed staring at the ceiling, painfully awake. (See: Afternoon Naps #1 and #2.)

David gallantly hops out of bed, when we hear the phone ringing, and runs out to the kitchen to answer it. 

"Collect call!" he announces, after a moment of silence. "It's from TicTac!" 

Groping my way through the darkness, I join him in the kitchen and take the phone from his hand. Yes, I'll accept the charges.

"So how's your Mother's Day going so far?" asks Daughter #2.

"I rode 54 miles this weekend!" I reply.

"Wow," she says, sounding marginally impressed. Five-Years-Ago Mom would have spent most of her Sunday falling off a computer stool, not a bicycle seat. Of course, what I don't tell her is that there are still moments when I hate it. I don't tell her that I cry like a little baby girl when I hit a rough patch, once in a while: when the hill is too steep or the wind is blowing in the wrong direction or my thigh muscles feel like they're on fire and I'm positive I can't ride another fudking foot, let alone another 1,500 miles. I don't tell her that sometimes I just want to quit -- sometimes I just want to give up and stop punishing myself this way and go back to the soft squishy undisciplined life I used to lead. I don't tell her that those are the moments when I have to reach deep down inside myself and find that hidden pocket of *Resiliency Molecules* I never even knew I had until I got sober.

(She's heard it all before, anyway.)

We chit-chat for a few minutes, in typical Mom-and-Kacie fashion. Is she eating? Yes. Has she broken up with Abusive Unemployed Auto Mechanic Guy? Yes. Will she give some thought to another rehab, once she's finished with her jail time and her community service? Yes. She apologizes for calling so late -- "Dude, I forgot about Mother's Day until just now," she says -- but I reassure her that she is allowed to call me any time, anywhere, for any reason.

"You calling me tonight is the best Mother's Day present you could possibly give me," I tell her. "I mean it."

She promises to try and stay in touch more regularly. "I still want to come and see you and David this summer," she says wistfully ... sounding, just for a moment, like the daughter I have known and loved and fretted over for nineteen years. When you're clean, we'll discuss it is what I should say. But this doesn't feel like the right time. So instead I tell her that we'll talk about it 'soon.' She wishes me a Happy Mother's Day, once again ... we exchange "I love you's" ... and I hear the soft *click* of the phone hanging up in my ear. I sit there in the darkness of the kitchen for the next little while, feeling momentarily sad and achey and disconnected ... but glad, nonetheless, that all three Tots have been accounted for on this Mother's Day.

Maybe NOW I can get some sleep.



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