I am not a phone person. If I’m on the phone, I want to be relaying information. Realm, on the other hand, used to call like this:
“Heeeeeyyyy, it’s me……… What’s going on?”
It took about three minutes, give or take a few seconds, for him to say it. It was approximately three minutes of my life put on hold. It drove me crazy. I couldn’t understand why anyone would call just to ask what’s going on…and talk soooo sloooowly. I mean, doesn’t everyone call because there’s something going on, and that something needs to be told to the other person? You know, things like,
“I’ve lost my wallet.”
“I’m stuck in traffic, and I’ll be late getting home.”
“You haven’t forgotten about the people coming over for dinner tonight, have you?”
But who is this—this “what’s going on” person?
I answered him in that vein. “What’s going on? What’s going on?! I’m being driven crazy by your children; that’s what’s going on! I’ve been trying to give the same spelling test to your daughter for 30 minutes, and there are only fifteen words! Your son made ten careless math mistakes because he won’t show his work! I just refereed a fight in the kitchen about whose turn it is to load the dishwasher because everyone is positive it’s not theirs—and we can’t remember who unloaded last. I need a chart. I’d like one that says: ‘Your mother is on strike. Pretend you are an adult for ten minutes and get your own lunch!’ I have clumps of bread dough sitting all over the kitchen because I’m trying to find a warm spot; I think the yeast is a dud. And there is yet another oil stain on the front of your polo that refuses to come out. No joke, it vaguely resembles the Mickey Mouse logo. Oh, and don’t get me started on what to do about supper tonight!”
Later, we sat down and talked about the frustration I felt when he called like that. That’s when I realized what “what’s going on” really means. It means, “I miss you. I miss the kids. I’m not there with you, and I know I’m missing out on everything. I want to be home. I want to be part of what’s going on there. So tell me. Tell me what I’m missing while I trade my time and my skills for a paycheck that keeps our family fed, clothed, and warmly protected.”
That’s when I got it. That’s when I realized I don’t need to be a phone person to say, “Let me tell you about the discussion we had after our Bible reading this morning,” or “Your daughter is hilarious! You should have heard what she said at lunch…” or just, “Sweetheart, this day is out of control, and this is why…”
It doesn’t mean I’ve figured out what to make for supper, or that Realm won’t be sporting Mickey Mouse ears across his abdomen. It means he’s part of the fiasco.