“Mommy. MOMMY. HELLLLOOOOOOO. Pick up the phone. PICK UP THE PHOOOONE, I beg you! We’re begging you!”
I hear this raucous pleading, punctuated by giggles and squeals, on the answering machine downstairs. I am in the loo, uh, indisposed.
When I am re-disposed, I call them back on their father’s phone.
“MOMMEEEEEEE. DID YOU HEAR US CALLING YOU????”
“Yes, darlings. I was in the bathroom.”
“OHHHhhh. SHE WAS IN THE BATHROOM.” I am sure their father is delighted to have that information.
“What’s up, monkeys?”
Hannah wrestles the phone to herself. “MOMMY, THIS IS HAAAAAANNAH NOW.”
“I know, dear one. What’s going on? Is everything okay?”
“We’re in the car!”
“The rash? We went to the DOCTOR. It’s just a VI-a, what is it, Daddy?”
“Virus,” I hear him say.
“IT IS JUST A VIRUS THING. It will go away by itself.”
“That’s great, hon, that’s good news.”
“But LISTEN. Can you come skating with our classes tomorrow?” she asks breathlessly.
H has been having a rough time of it lately. Lots of tears, lots of acting out, at home…both homes. Never at school. No amount of talking or cuddling or consequences has been doing the trick. She hurts in a way she can’t articulate.
I have a deadline; approximately 75 pounds of laundry to wash, dry and sort; two cat boxes to clean; a kitchen to scrub; and mounds of paperwork. But I can hear it in her voice. She needs this.
I am grateful for something so clear.
“Yes, baby. I’ll write your teacher to find out what time. I’ll be there.”
The shriek of joy on the other side of the line is ear-splitting.
“THAT IS SO GREAT,” she yells. “I can teach you backwards skating.”
The deadline, the laundry, the cleaning, the paperwork: she won’t remember any of that, and neither will I.
But she will remember me shaking my tush like a lunatic, trying to propel myself backward.
“That IS great, honey. I’m a lucky mama.”
“BYE! SOPHIE SAYS BYE! BYE! SEE YOU TOMORROW!” Click.
I don’t always know what they need. I am grateful for the times when it’s this clear.