Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 170 of 365: My Mother's Voicemail: A Rendering

When it comes to nice people, my mom probably tops that list. She was exactly that nervously-optimistic mom, signing me up for ballet classes, but ringing her hands over the possibility that she was pushing me to do certain activities. She was the one who read Dr. Spock and always corrected herself midway through a scolding: "I'm upset with your actions. Not you." I don't think there is a single malicious bone in her body. Mention something in passing and she'll spend the next day making that situation happen, or getting whatever it was that you mentioned that needed. She's the type of woman who will tell you she loves you, even though you can tell it is awkward for her to say those words due a less-than-affectionate upbringing. But she says it, because she does love you and she always wants you to know that.

That being said: she has absolutely no filter.

You know how some people say, "I have no filter!" and you know that's a bold-faced lie because there is definitely some stuff that they keep locked in their brains when talking to people. Even if it's just little stuff, like, "Did I leave the oven on?" or "My shoes are a little uncomfortable" it is still kept internal. That is not the case with my mother.

This is the woman who, when I called to announce my engagement, replied with, "I heard somewhere that 50% of all marriages fail." And she wasn't saying that because she hated my fiancé/now-husband. She genuinely just remembered that statistic and saw nothing wrong with bringing it up casually. The same way people will mention going somewhere and someone says, "Oh, I heard they have really good roast beef there."

Calling my mom is a strategic operation. I cannot call just when I have something else to do, or if I'm on the road, or if I'm feeling extra antsy. Usually, I plan talking with my mom around a tedious, time-consuming cleaning project, so I am guaranteed to have someone to talk to for the entire project. Even if I'm calling to confirm a time/day to have dinner together, I need that extra bit of time. Because you never know what she is going to say, or for how long.

I got back from teaching tai chi yesterday to see a voice message on my landline (because no matter how many times you tell someone from a previous generation that your cell phone is the primary phone, whereas the landline is a backup, they'll treat your landline like primary and cell phone like backup). But primary reason for the call was to let us know that the weather was turning and to maybe reschedule dinner. The message itself was at least 10 minutes long. There is no other way to explain it other than try to recreate that wonderful message:

"Hello, **** and Abby! This is Kathy, Abby's mother, ****'s mother-in-law, as you, well, already know... I just wanted to call you to tell you that there is a snowstorm coming into Massachusetts later this week and I, uh... well, you guys are very familiar with snowstorms, living as far up north as you do. But it's not that far up north, so it's probably about the same. But, anyway, the weather is going to be pretty bad, so I think it would be best if we wait until February to see each other and have dinner. Your father and I can have the roasted ham that we were saving for dinner tonight and then I can go to the store and maybe get a roast chicken for when you come and visit. They're usually on sale this time of year and I'll just get one after we have the ham. But ham is sometimes on sale as well, as we really like the brown-sugar glazed variety. But if we have ham tonight, we'll have chicken when you guys come visit.

Also, I changed my mind about your old stereo system. The one that was in your room, with the remote control? As you can recall, your brother brought it down to the living room to replace my old radio and I didn't like it one bit. As you already know, I love my simple radio and didn't understand why we were replacing it. I didn't realize how nifty it was to be able to change CDs like that and I really like it. So if it's okay, I think I will keep it in our living room for now. It's nice using it for dinnertime -- because, you know, it is always nice to have music playing during dinner. Not TV, like some people do. Especially not like some restaurants do. We -- your father and I -- like music, but not too loud, as we learned. Your stereo can get very loud.

So, yes, the weather: let's wait until February because there is another snowstorm approaching.

I also wanted to let you know that I'm visiting the dentist this afternoon. As you know, I had a tooth crack a few years back, and my dentist at the time -- Dr. Novac, who was also your dentist as a kid -- filled it in. I guess that was only good for a year and a few months, because I need it filled in again. Which I guess is okay. I like my new dentist and it is a shame that Dr. Novac already retired, but maybe it is for the best because his filler didn't last that long. But I'm going in this afternoon and that should be fine. The only setback is that it will change when I walk Sabrina -- because, as you know, she really needs her walks. She has so much energy and she really likes when she has a mission to do. So we've been walking to the Tedeschi's with her little carrier vest on and she's been bringing back cartons of milk. Because, your brother, y'know, he really likes his milk. He's a growing boy and growing boys need calcium! I know you like to take Sabrina to the - uh - what is that park's time? Esker Park, yes, and let her off the leash, but this way works better with me.

And, uh, yes, so let's reschedule for sometime in February, because we are going to get hit with a snowstorm this evening and into the next day and the weather is just really bad right now and I'd hate for you guys to have to drive in it. Although I'm sure **** is a great driver. And you are, too, Abby. Both great drivers, and with lots of experience driving in the wintertime. But we still should reschedule.

Okay, I think that's all for now. We can reschedule for February. Call me when you get this. Okay, I think that is all I wanted to say. Okay. I love you. And, uh, I'll talk to you later! Okay, uh, bye!"

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