Hazy summer evening on the street where I live.
My mom called me today. I was surprised, because she has only called me one time in the last 5 or more years, of her own volition. I’ve called her about 50 times or more. Just last night, K and I were discussing my getting a new phone number, since he wants to put me on his verizon plan. He has a second number that he never used, and he’s going to give me his old iphone. I am not amazed by technology and could quite happily still be using a flip phone. But. Back to my point. I was telling K that it would be no big deal if I got a new number, since few people call me, and the ones I want to talk to, I have to call, as they don’t call me. Ie, my mom.
So I was shocked to pick up my phone and hear my mom’s voice. It had been years since she called. She sounded hesitant, and I instantly thought she had bad news, like something was wrong with my grandpa. But no, everything was fine, and she was calling to ask if I had gotten her voicemail.
Shocker number two! My mom actually called me twice in one day? She said she had called to say she was going to the store, and she wanted to swing by and see our new kitten, Maggie. I had invited my mom over several times to see Maggie, but she hadn’t been able to make it. I was happy to talk with my mom, so we talked for awhile.
Then I checked my voicemail to listen to her message. But I was saddened while I listened. First off, my mom sounded very young, and hesitant. She sounded sad and slow, as if she wanted to talk directly, and not to voice mail. But most of all, she sounded unsure of herself, and her tone was apologetic at interrupting and taking up space on my voicemail, and apologetic at taking up my time during the day. I felt so bad, and instantly knew why my mom never called me. She actually, really, truly felt like she was bothering me, and didn’t want to make a nuisance of herself.
I had always thought that she didn’t call me because it was one of my dad’s rules. He doesn’t let her call me for two reasons. One, it racks up their phone bill. And two, he doesn’t want her in contact with her daughters because he doesn’t want her involved in our lives. She has to listen to him, because she is afraid on him on some level, and is a peace maker and doesn’t like to make waves. I always used to feel mad thinking that our own mother isn’t allowed to call us. Anger toward my father for enforcing that rule, and anger towards my mother for actually obeying it.
So I always thought she didn’t call because she wanted to be the model, obediant wife, afraid of breaking my dad’s rules.
But her tone in the voicemail made it sound like she actually believed that she was a bother and a nuisance to me. That breaks my heart, because I do love hearing from my mom. Also, it makes me extremely sad to hear that belief in her voice because it is the belief that my sisters and I have been fed since birth, and have assimilated as our own. I listen to my sister L leave voice messages, and she has the same sweet, sad, apologetic, agreeable tone, as if to say “I’m such an unloveable looser with nothing to contribute to the world and I know you don’t want to talk to me or have anything to do with me, and I don’t want to bother you, but if you have time later and if you want to, could you call me back.” It breaks my heart. We were all abused and made to believe we meant nothing, yet we kept our sweet demeanors because it was the Godly thing to do.
It doesn’t really break my heart that I was messed up, but when I hear the sadness and loneliness and heartbreak in my mom’s voice… then I really get sad.
I will save her voicemail.