When I lived halfway across the world, I would phone my parents several times a week. Sometimes, these conversations last no more than a couple of minutes – my parents have a hectic social life when my dad is home, but I could always feel the smile in my mum’s voice across the 3000 miles. I know, without conceit and self-vanity, that my mum loves hearing my voice….even when I have nothing of import to say.

Now that I am home, I slack in that duty, always making the excuse, “Oh well, I’ll be seeing them in a few days’ time.”  I don’t call as much.

Then in conversation one day this week, my father snapped irritably at me, “Your mum has been carrying her old mobile phone around wondering if it’s working, because it never rings. She’s almost afraid to leave the house without it in case you call.”

My mother has a first generation Nokia that looks like a brick, a museum piece that she still hasn’t quite figured out how to use. She would stare at it with trepidation whenever it rings (thankfully, hardly) and ask, “Which button do I press?” I can’t ever remember her using it in all those years. “Oh, only for emergency, Jac,” she would say cheerfully.

That just kicked something in me, the realisation that my mother had been waiting for my call whilst I have been too busy with my new life. How could I have pushed her aside, she who had never been too busy for me?

I immediately booked my train ticket home and am going home today. No delay. Nothing can be more important than fulfilling the longing of those who loved us so selflessly. The rest can wait.

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