I call my mother every day. Or at least almost every day. She lives in Kansas (USA), and I live in Israel, and the one thing that bridges the divide between us most of all, is that I try to call her every single day.
This started when I was first living here in the summer of 2014 and war broke out. My mother hated that I was here, and wanted me to come back IMMEDIATELY. Which I didn’t do. And when she tried to convince me to return, she asked “but what if you get hit by a rocket?” I replied without thinking, “well — at least I will be in Israel so it will mean something.”
Not surprisingly, I’ve since been told this is NOT the right response to your worried mother 8,000 or so miles away. She wasn’t happy then about my being here, and isn’t so happy now, that her child is so far away, living a life that is so removed from hers. So we agreed together that I would call her daily just to say ‘hi,’ and let her know I’m alive and doing okay.
Aside from growing up in Kansas, I’ve lived in Boston and Florida and Chicago, traveled to places from Mexico to India, and encountered people and situations far more threatening and dangerous than any so far here in Israel (thankfully). But I understand her concern.
I know the Israel she sees is what makes it into the news, and that can be scary. She wonders if I can hear the bombing in Syria from my apartment in Jerusalem. Not because she doesn’t know geography, but because she knows how tiny Israel is, and how threatening and fragile life here can feel. And while I feel safer walking through Jerusalem than any other city I’ve lived in, we’re still a small speck on a big map, and she and I both know it.
I understand how hard it is that the way we share our lives is through phone calls. So if I can do this one small thing, take a few minutes out of my day to connect with the woman who has loved and supported me more than any other in the world, well – then calling her is truly the least I can do.
My mom is in her mid-70s, and I dread a day where she wouldn’t be waiting for my call, anxious to hear my update, and willing to listen to me rattle on about people she doesn’t know and a life she’s not able to be part of.
When I’ve got a hectic schedule, and the only time I have is when I’m running to the bus or buying groceries, I still do it. I still call, even if it’s just to leave a message, because I know how lucky I am to have someone who cares so much about me, who thinks about how I’m doing every day, and if all it takes is a phone call to make her a little happier, how blessed am I to be able to make that call.
We just passed my father’s 27th yartzeit. He’s missed so much in these many years — graduations, and weddings, and grandkids, and all the markers of life and time passing. What I wouldn’t give to be able to call and talk to him. But thankfully my mother has been with us, present always, holding the center of our family through her presence, her love, and her connection to all of us.
So when the end of my day draws close, and I realize in the rush of life that I forgot to call my mom, I don’t feel guilty or burdened by her expectation, or irritated that she wants to hear from me. Instead, I feel blessed that such a small thing on my part makes such a difference. And whether we talk for a minute or ten, I feel the blessing of her love connecting us across space and time, I’m so grateful to just say ‘hi’, and let her know that I’m doing fine.