Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hold the phone

Part of a good Groundhog Day, at least when Teri and I are apart, by necessity, me in my mountain cabin, she in her beach cabin, is the nightly phone call. It gives us a chance to share the highlights of the day. Who brightened our day. The challenges we faced. Funny moments. Times we needed "adult supervision."

A sign on my living room wall encourages us to live well, laugh often and love much. The phone calls reflect this mantra. They let Teri know that I'm thinking about her and wanting to spend quality time with her. Sure, there are some dull moments, some awkward pauses, some harebrained utterances. But it's important to not hang up before the miracle. If we talk long enough, good things invariably happen. We strike a chord. We hit a nerve. We make progress in our relationship building.

It's amazing to think that at one point, before Teri came into my life, I was phone phobic. My blood pressure would shoot up every time the phone rang. I would have to work up the courage, give myself a pep talk, before answering the phone. Some of this still runs in my family. We are hermits by nature, and would rather eat onions raw, walk on a bed of hot coals barefoot or wrestle badgers than talk on the phone.

Teri and I have made great strides in helping me overcome these tendencies. We have permission to talk about anything. We can even have family meetings on the phone, where we solve tough problems by defining the knowns and unknowns. Defining the problem in depth implies a solution. This way, we don't allow problems to fester or grudges to take hold.

Before we part we share a phone hug and kiss and wish each other blissful sleep and sweet dreams. We may not be able to share physical space, some evenings, but we are able to remain important parts of each other's lives, even when we are 90 miles apart. We hang up figuratively having tucked each other into bed, another day behind us well lived.

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