It’s been three weeks since I dropped my son off at college. His school didn’t have a week-long wilderness bonding trip or multiple days of jam-packed orientation the way many schools seemed to for their incoming freshmen. He arrived a few days before class started and there seemed to be two or three things for the freshmen to do – only one of them mandatory.
“I’d like to talk every day for the first week,” I said to him on Sunday as we were about to leave. “I just want to feel like you’re settled. Then we can scale back to maybe once a week.”
“Ok,” he said. “But we don’t have to talk again today, right?”
Given that statement, I should have realized that our Daily Phone Calls would come to an end by Wednesday.
Many of my friends have girls in college and I’ve asked them, almost in jest, whether they speak to their daughters every day. “At least,” they say. Meaning, you talk more than once a day??? “Oh sure, sometimes.”
Moms of boys paint a different picture. “Once a week. If you’re lucky. Sometimes once every two weeks.” That seems to be the general consensus.
Oh, yes, there’s the aberrant boy who calls every few days just to chitchat. Not with a problem or out of loneliness, but because he enjoys the connection with his mother.
I know it’s unreasonable, but that’s what I want. An aberrant boy.
I want my son to pick up the phone delightedly every third day and call me to share the minutia of his life. I want to know if they serve pickles with the turkey sandwiches in the Blue Room, and if they do, I want to know how they’re sliced.
I want to know which Eminem song he’s playing over and over again while he does math problems and I want to know which shampoo he prefers – the Mango or the Coconut.
Of course, what I really want are the psychological profiles of his roommate and his new-found friends. That may happen once cows start to fly.
To be fair, he did give me a run-down the other day of which cafeteria he eats which meals at, but I wasn’t really paying very close attention. In fact, I wasn’t listening at all, but instead trying to calculate how many more questions and answers I could jam into our conversation before he said, “Ok, I have work to do, I have to go now.”
Intellectually, I know that the number of times a boy calls (or, in my case, doesn’t call) doesn’t necessarily have to do with how close they feel to their mothers, but instead perhaps how determined they are to develop independence. Still, I can’t resist the urge to shoot him a text every once in a while.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“You’re alive, right?”
“Do you still love me?”