About to blow a circuit: Moms can’t cure everything, but they can listen when all else fails

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, May 21, 2006

All circuits are busy.

“You’re telling me,” I mumbled to the recording, while attempting to sort laundry, check my e-mail and pay my bills. What else would a mom be doing on Mother’s Day, while attempting to reach her mother?

Setting the phone on speaker and hitting the redial button every 30 seconds — just in case some selfish person would quit talking and give those of us who want to call an opportunity — I continued on with my tasks and mumblings.

On my end of the line, Mother’s Day has become a quiet affair — only one child left at home and the others (who had planned ahead) had called on Saturday. The said remaining child was asleep. That is what 5-foot-8-inch 14-years-olds do. That and eat. I think they sleep to store up energy to eat, or maybe they eat to have energy to sleep? As I pondered this, shopping lists and the answer to the most frequently asked question on the planet — what’s for supper? — I kept getting a recording, to which I promptly said some sarcastic remark, as if it would matter and or the recording really gives a rip.

This is not the way Mother’s Day should go, I harrumphed. Not that I wanted gifts, nor expected breakfast in bed. I’ve already had my fair share of 6 a.m. “Mommy here is your boo-tee-ful breakfast, I made just for you” days. I loved all of them. Especially the year the three of them could not agree what to make, so they made and then insisted that I eat three meals. Which I did, because what else would a mom do on Mother’s Day?

Still busy (both me and the phone lines), I thought about what it was I was after. I want the phone to work. It is the 21st century and if I can take a photo with the darn thing and beam it across the room to my husband, why can’t it do its primary function and send the call through?

I want the war to end. I want children to get proper health care and I want my mom not to die. That’s it! Screw world peace — it is all about me. I don’t want this to be the last Mother’s Day call, and since the doctors assure us it will be, I decided to blame the phone company for all of my anger and fear.

I am sure it is the phone company’s fault that the cure for cancer isn’t known because the doctor who discovered it couldn’t get a call out. Somewhere out there is a lazy lineman, smoking a cigarette while my mother is dying. The jerk! I am afraid that after she dies we will get this call:

“Oh sorry, could have cured cancer, but it was faulty equipment all this time.”

I also want the answer to why, whenever there is bad news, your calls go through no matter what.

“ Mrs. Misner your son has bitten poor little ______, please come get him and bring proof of his rabies shot.”

“ Mrs. Misner, your son has been in a bus crash. I hope he is OK.”

“ Nancianna, Mom’s in the hospital, her tests show it’s cancer.”

By that point I had worked myself up to a good cry. Good thing it was Sunday and no stray phone company people were out and about for me to yell at. When I was pretty sure I would rip the phone out of the wall (fat lot of good that would have done me), the phone people (who really sit in a back room with a roulette wheel with all of our names on it) hit my name.

Lucky red seven. Nan gets to call her mom.

And there she was.

“Hi Honey, I miss you.”

As I dissolved into tears wanting to explain about the new terrorist cell I had discovered — the phone company — all I could blubber was I am sorry she is so sick and sorry that I cannot fix it. I am a mom, for God’s sake. Ask my kids — moms can fix anything.

I apologized for ranting and thanked her for everything and for listening.

“It’s going to be OK, sweetie,” she said. “What else would I want to do on Mother’s Day?”

Nan Misner is the newsroom assistant at the Clarion.

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