My son phones home from university.
"How are you?" I hope I don't sound anxious.
"Good!" The teacher in me longs to shout "It's well or ok or fine but not good." The Mummy in me just breathes again - he sounds happy, so I'm happy.
I ask my usual question, "Do you need anything or is this a chit chat 'phone call?
He gives his usual reply, "It's a chit chat call".
"Oooh lovely!" I take my drink to my favourite chair. We talk maybe once a week so this is to be savoured!
We talk for over an hour. He tells me about his uni reading. I tell him about the new book club I've joined.
He tells me to Google this poem that he read on his course.....
Mother, any distance greater than a single span by Simon Armitage
Mother, any distance greater than a single span
requires a second pair of hands.
You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,
the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.
You at the zero-end, me with the spool of tape, recording
length, reporting metres, centimetres back to base, then leaving
up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling
years between us. Anchor. Kite.
I space-walkthrough the empty bedrooms, climb
the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something
has to give;
two floors below your fingertips still pinch
the last one hundredth of an inch... I reach
towards the hatch that opens on an endless sky
to fall or fly."
I am choked.
He thinks that's funny.
I tell him he's gorgeous.
I think that's funny.
We say bye.
I check supper which has been cooking the while.
It's burnt. Ruined.
I don't care.
I had seen beyond my usual round.
It is good when your children teach you.
Reasons to be cheerful number two....
Son number two ( aka the Bisto kid as he usually comes in sniffing the air asking, "What's for tea?" ) comes in as I am scraping the burnt supper from the casserole dish.
"I have burnt tea!"
"MMmmm!" he grins agreement surveying the casserole charcoal. He tells me about the good bits of his day. I am happy he has had a better day than of late.
He goes to bathe.
I phone Steve and tell him he has a stupid wife who burns the tea.
He offers Chinese and a bottle :)
Reasons to be cheerful number three...
A piece of the jigsaw is missing. Steve is coming home via Chinese and bottle, Son 2 has off- loaded his better day & his manager's plans for him, son 3 has shared his uni days and how he is managing ... so I 'phone my eldest son and we natter.
After we have put the phone down it rings again... "Don't forget you still haven't come to see the new flat...." (400 mile round trip was impossible health-wise until now) and we chat for half an hour more.
So now I sit and sigh.
We have all dispersed again.
Each to our own space.
Yet I am still and so are they; Mother and son, any distance.