Whether I'm 5 or 46 there's just sometimes when I need to hear THE VOICE OF MOM on the other end of the line. It could be that I have some fantastic news to share - devastating news or no news at all! Mostly I take comfort in the fact that day or night I can call my Mom if I want and she'll answer! It's the same relationship I have with my daughter Elle. Five years ago - not so much!
Immediately when I heard about the bombings in Boston - I felt a personal connection with my daughter living back East. I immediately called and texted Elle to "check in" - when she didn't pick up my heart started racing. The few minutes it took for Elle to call back seemed like hours in Mom time! When I heard her say "Hi Mom - I'm safe" it was music to my ears. It was a relief to know that we could communicate despite our physical separation.
After I hung up the phone, I wondered about the other hundreds of kids who were at the Boston Marathon. In this day in age it's likely that a fair number of the kids affected by the bombs are from divorced parents with one or two blended families. How many parents were at home knowing their children were in harms way - unable to reach the other parent let alone hear the voice of their child. Not knowing if the lack of communication was indicative of a serious problem or simply a reflection of their strained relationship with the other parent.
Communicating with my daughter under the best of times was extremely difficult when Elle was with her Dad and Step Mom. At the worst of times complete torture - wondering if Elle was ok when I was unable to quickly relieve my fear with a simple phone call and a "Mom - I'm fine."
Fifteen years ago a Tornado ripped through our City - a very rare and unusual event. I remember calling incessantly all of Dick and Malus' number with no answer and no call backs. Several hours later Malus finally answered the phone - she was bugged that I had been beeping in while she had been trying to confirm that her sister and parents were ok following the Tornado. My request to talk to Elle was dismissed because she needed the phone line open for her family to communicate.
I know that it doesn't come anywhere near comparing to what the families in Boston are going through following the attack on Monday. But I can imagine just how distraught some parents could feel not being able to hear - Mom I'm fine or I need you Mom.
In the best of times Elle resorted to calling me from the front office of her school to just say HI most days that she was at her Dad's. When she was old enough to have a cell phone, she would text me from under her sheets after she went to bed or from the school bathroom to share her exciting news - or a disagreement she had with a friend - or just simply to say Hi.
Elle was able to adapt her ways to keep communication open with me on the days we are apart. Although, Dick and Malus' attempts to stop communication between Elle and me were ultimately unsuccessful - it saddens me - that a child - my child - was restricted from picking up the phone when she wanted to hear THE VOICE OF MOM. It's probably the biggest reason that at 19 living a handful of States away we talk far more often then when was in her Dad's house 30 minutes away.
As a Step Mom to five, I have experienced another parent invading our time with the kids with incessant calling or the expectation that their call be taken no matter what is going on. The solution isn't cutting off communication in and/or out with the kids and their other parent. Rather it's setting time periods for the kids to call without a watchful parent monitoring the time or the conversation. Or delineating certian times that are off limit to all phone calls(parents included) - like family dinners - movie time - game time.....
Being able to hear THE VOICE OF MOM shouldn't be the sole right of kids from traditional families - it should be a right of all kids even ones in blended families!
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