I do not enjoy talking to Dad on the phone. He tells the same stories. And they're not interesting. And sometimes they're judgmental and mean. They're often boring. So I admit to sighing when he calls to check in since he does like to use his cell. It makes him feel important.
I find it lovely how happy I've been to speak to him this week. How closely I listen to the tone of his voice and pace of his words. So whether we discuss cardiac rehabilitation or Seal Team 6 or how Smallest wants him to come home right now, my heart feels happy when I get to hear his voice and know what he's thinking.
He has been thinking - mostly - that he wants to go home. As does Mom, who has been sleeping on a roll-away bed with a bad pillow and thin blanket. But it makes my heart happy to hear how grateful she is that he's OK. To know she wants him around, even though he's sometimes frustrating and annoying and tiresome. It's just very sweet.
So I call. On my way to work at 7AM. Again after a meeting ends at 10:55. On my way home after work. And before 9PM so I can make sure all is well before they go to sleep. And my 'way home' call was preempted by news that they were home. And happy. And healthy for now.
The hell of chronic diseases - and so many of ours are, living as we do in developed societies - is that they're coming back. You can battle and manage symptoms and prevent the worst of episodes, but, if you live long enough, the likelihood increases that the same old problems will reappear.
So I'm sure I'll eventually return to wincing when Dad calls and I'd rather be doing something else. But for now, I smile at the sound of his voice.