Monday, April 19, 2010

Texting as an Alternative?

**First, let me thank my devoted readers, some of who have emailed me to encourage me to update my blog. Thank you. I'm sorry for the absence.**

Some months back, my son and I had a conversation about why I don't call him as much as he thinks I should. It's true that I hadn't called him much, but in my favor, I text him all the time. At least once a day to ask him how he is or to just say I love him or some other brief message. In his favor, we hadn't had a meaningful conversation in a while and I guess he was feeling that absence. I told him that I just wasn't comfortable talking much on the phone because it tires me out greatly and I avoid it as much as possible. The problem was, I was avoiding it to the point that it was affecting my relationship with him.

Sure, I have to suffer a little when I call him. I struggle with blocks and hesitations...and usually by the end of the conversation, I'm worn out mentally. But, is that a worth price to pay to maintain my close relationship with my son? Of course, it is. There is a part of me that believes that he doesn't understand just how taxing it is for me to undertake a phone conversation...but will his understanding change the fact that fewer phone conversations will harm our relationship? And if not...is it a good point? Probably not.

So, though I raised more than a few justifications for my lack of calling (or answering), at the end of the conversation, I had to admit that he was right. And that it was probably a good idea to just bite the bullet and call more often, even if it was difficult for me to do so.

Having said all of that, I must admit that, when my phone does ring and I see that it's him (or anyone)...I heave a big sigh and wish I hadn't heard it or that my phone was accidentally left in my car...but then I answer it anyway and, as usual, I struggle with fluency, become frustrated with the blocks and hesitations and wind up thinking at the end of the conversation that I surely must have come across as a stuttering, dysfluent asshole. I have a sneaky suspicion that it is not the way that I actually come across to those I speak to...but reality doesn't usually change how one feels, does it?

I still have bouts of self pity when I think about all of the people who use their phone all day long and enjoy lengthy conversations with loved ones and friends and wholly take for granted the ease with which they do all of this. But then I ultimately am pestered by my inner voice that scolds me, reminding me that I do not corner the market in pain and suffering and that millions of people struggle every day with all sorts of things, many of which are harder than what I have to go through. Blind people. Those suffering with missing limbs or barely-working limbs...people who are deaf...people who can't walk...people with Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis...and many, many more.

In retrospect, I have to admit to myself that my struggle is minor when compared to so many others. And for that, I am grateful.

Incidentally, my son was recently accepted to Georgetown University with a full, four-year scholarship. I can't complain too much, I suppose. :)

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