Learning to accept ‘I just called to say I love you’

I’d rather text than talk on the phone. I like that I can edit what I want to convey, plus I have written record for posterity’s sake. Also, I am frequently impatient about the interruption of a ringing phone, so if it’s a personal call my greeting is usually, “What’s going on?”

I want to cut right to the chase, and besides, I find it worrisome when a friend or family member actually rings me up because it is out of the norm.

Apparently, my mother hates my greeting. I know this because the other day she called, and after my customary greeting she announced, “I hate that with a passion.”

Startled, I asked what she was referring to. “You do that every time I call. It’s like answering the phone with, ‘What do you want?’”

I led with joking about the matter by texting a list of customary greetings I found online after we said our goodbyes. She was not amused.

Next, I took a poll. Neither my husband nor my children have the same opinion, but I felt I should be willing to accommodate my mother’s preferences. After all, she rarely objects to anything I say or do.

To the contrary, she seems convinced that all of my ideas are Shark Tank worthy, my recipes would amaze the Top Chef judges and any craft I create is of museum quality. I mean, she’s my mom and her role as my personal cheerleader rivals the talent of a motivational speaking guru.

Still, old habits die hard and formulating a thoughtful greeting would require some, well … thought.

I thought of how much I miss my children now that they are grown — even when my daughter, who lives locally, is out of town for a few days. I remember the many times I’m in a public place and I hear someone call out, “Mom,” and I instinctively turn, only to realize I’m not needed.

Or, how sometimes loved ones who have long since parted this earth show up in my dreams causing my spirit to soar at the memory of their voice.

How it never gets old to hear my grandchildren call me Lolli — their special nickname for me. And, the glow of affection I experience when their collection of friends do the same.

And, about how all the mundane details of life are just that: Life. I was reminded that “I just called to say I love you” is so much more than the title of a great song.

I gave it my best and my mom always says that is all you can hope for, anyway.

Here is the greeting I settled on: “Hello Mother, how are you today?” I hope it reads as an invitation to share what’s on her mind rather than a request to get to the point, because none of those other obligations requiring my attention are as important as the people I love. Actually, now that I’ve thought about it, I am so very glad you called.