Clarissa Johal: Mom e-mails

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mom e-mails

Sometimes I feel like my life is a string of hastily typed-out e-mails. My mom friends and I, for some oddly-conceived reason, find it much easier to send e-mails to each other as a way of keeping in touch about our daily lives, frustrations, successes and attempts to get together for random MNO (moms night out for those of you not in the know), rather than pick up that weird, outdated thing called a telephone. Not that we don’t call each other, because we do. However, the moment a mom’s hand touches the phone receiver, it sends out some sort of invisible signal to that mother’s child that the child is dying of starvation, thirst or some other life-threatening malady and they must be attended to—immediately. So, it isn’t uncommon to flick on my computer at 6AM in the morning to find an e-mail in my inbox from a stressed-out mom who spent the night in the ER with her child, who for some unforeseen reason, decided jumping jacks on the bed would be a fun activity. Once that mom opens her weary eyes in the late morning, peeks in at her child (who miraculously survived) and is able to open her e-mail; she will see the outpouring of support and sympathy from her friends and know she is loved. No invisible; “I’m about to pick up the phone” signal to contend with, no words wasted, just quick communication with those that love her. It’s a weird way to conduct friendships. However, I like to think of it as another layer of communication in this racing world of technology.
As I look over my sent e-mails, I see a collection of musings, stories and anecdotes that trace my “life as mom." It's a collection which I may print out and bequeath to my two daughters some day. A moment from their life as babies and toddlers all the way into their school years when they no longer need me as much. It is a time I am experiencing with a combination of acute, empty-nest sadness and a guilty feeling of freedom. I can write uninterrupted! I can walk the dogs without pausing to examine every dead worm that has dried out on the sidewalk! I can talk on the phone, do housework and go grocery shopping; all uninterrupted and with no thought to my children's tolerance for such mundane activities! It’s a feeling that fills me with happiness, freedom, and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. It’s also a feeling of such intense loneliness that sometimes I find myself watching old video tapes of their favorite cartoons they liked when they were toddlers. However, I have to remind myself that my children are taking their place in the structure of the world and doing that inevitable thing that we’ve all been ambushed into without our permission—growing up.

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