Every night at 9 pm my mom calls me to let me know that she’s OK. I asked her to do this because I was worried about her being alone all the time. So the phone rings at 9 and knowing it’s her, I usually listen to the answering machine message, determine she’s OK, and go on with what I’m doing.
Why do I do this? Why don’t I just talk to her every night?
Because I hate talking for long periods on the telephone. My mom just doesn’t know when to stop talking. I realize she’s probably lonesome, but she goes on and on about her health down to the most minute detail and it drives me crazy. I do listen sympathetically for the first 5 minutes or so, and then some kind of overload switch gets flipped in me. She would keep me on the phone for an hour if she could.
I guess because I have health problems of my own, I get annoyed hearing about the health issues over and over. I feel some guilt about this, but I can’t help it. I want to keep a positive attitude and while I’m happy to commiserate with someone occasionally, I just can’t hang in as a regular, constant event. I don’t like to talk about my health challenges to others – I feel it’s a boring topic. I only wish the same courtesy was extended to me.
So what I do is take what she is saying and offer a positive spin on whatever the problem is. Then she says “sometimes it’s good to just complain and have someone listen without offering solutions”. I disagree, I don’t believe in complaining at length.
What’s a gal to do? The end result is that I pick up the phone about 3 days a week and try to listen to her “physical report card”. I consider that a compromise. I love my mom and I know she won’t be around forever.