My Mom passed away years ago before the age of iPods, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, Tweet, Text and Blog. Cell phones were in during her time, but she had no use for them. The old rotary worked just fine, except for one problem, it didn’t ring much. Her family was at fault and she let us know about it, frequently.
I lived a few miles from my Mom, and my brother was located in Eugene. Just us two sibs, unless you count the one that the Oregonian made up in Dad’s obituary. According to the paper, there were three of us. They had written Eugene in as another brother, not the city. Imagine the surprise to family and friends at Dad’s funeral!
It became an instant excuse if one of us failed to call or visit Mom regularly. We would tell her that it was Eugene’s turn. We blamed our imaginary brother on a lot of things. More times than not, we wished there really was another brother to carry some of the burden of guilt.
When it got harder for Mom to get up and down, the phone company put in a 40 foot phone cord. She could drag it from room to room so as not to miss a call, especially from her family. Mom could string it from the desk in the dining room over to her ‘ejecto’ chair in the livingroom and into her bedroom. Much to her chagrin, the phone sat quietly on the floor, with hardly a ring.
When she got tired of waiting for us to call she’d call us. If we weren’t at home, we would hear one of her famous messages on the recorder, “Oh, I just wanted to see if your phone was working.” It was her suttle way of making us feel guilty.
As time went on, Mom’s hearing worsened. Anyone that called would have to tear their lungs out trying to make her understand. I bought her a phone amplifier, but she had trouble adjusting it to the receiver, so it sat unused in the drawer gathering dust. If I called her and her voice sounded distant, I would try to tell her that she was holding the receiver backwards, and was talking into the hearing side.
Looking back on those years, I was too busy with my life to give my Mom the attention she really deserved. All she wanted was a to know that we were interested enough to let her know that we were thinking of her.
Funny how things do come full circle. I find myself facing the same situation with my children and grandchildren. I know they do love and care for me. I also know that their activities keep them busy. I was once there, too, but it still would be nice if they called or texted more often. Besides, they need to feel a little stab of guilt once in a while.
History does repeats itself. With Mom, it was only the non-phone calls that created guilt in me. With modern technology today, look at all the mega amounts of guilt I can cause on my offspring!