Why Won’t You Talk to Me?

My mother rarely speaks to me. It’s just a fact.  I’ll get random texts sporadically, but they mostly consist of three words or less.

And for whatever reason, this fact really bothers me. 

She never calls. I call her occasionally, but not nearly as often as the people around me. In daily conversations I hear people talking about their mom, the conversation they had with their mom, their mom’s opinion on something, and it all sounds so foreign and so distant. Your mom has an opinion? And she cares enough to share it with you? These are concepts that do not compute…

Today, I called my mom. I had a logistical question about moving home for two night between moving out of Hipsterville and moving to Mississippi for Teach For America. 30 seconds later, the logistical question was cleared up and we both sat on the line, silent.

  • ME: So…What else is new with you?
  • MOM: Oh, nothing new here.

I dove into a story about my weekend and my day and that I was killing some time before my meeting in an hour. Then, I wrapped it up.

  • MOM: That’s nice, so you’ll let me know if you need any help with the move? I’ll let you get to your meeting now.
  • ME: Wait! It’s not for an hour, I have lots of time. We can chat!
  • MOM: Well, I don’t really have anything to say.
  • ME: *scoff. Ok.
  • MOM: Ya, can’t think of anything. Have a good night.

I hung up the phone and just felt empty. I racked my brain, when did my relationship with her get this way? After scouring over timelines and years and years in my head it finally occurred to me. Freshmen year. Christmas Break. I came home after my first semester of university cheery and bubbling with excitement to sleep in my own bed and cuddle my parents’ dog.

“Want to see something crazy?” she asked casually. “Ya!” I got up to join her in the kitchen. “Watch this,” she pulled a can of Diet Dr. Pepper (her addiction) out of the fridge and held it in her right hand. The can began to shake. A steady, obvious, shake. Back and forth, not slowly, but not quickly. “What am I watching for?” I asked, the most confused. I honestly thought she was shaking up the can to show me something about how it would or would not explode… I had no idea.

“It’s a tremor,” she said bluntly. “I have Parkinson’s Disease.” 

And it was from that very moment in the presence of a Diet Dr. Pepper and the obese family weenie dog that my mom began to shut me out.

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