I place the phone in its cradle (yes, I still use that kind of phone) and allow the sound of my daughter’s enthusiastic voice to fade. We have just finished what used to be our weekly, Sunday morning phone visit and now is our in-the-car-on-the-way-home from-work call. I know when she’s pulling into her driveway because she always chirps,
“I’m glad everything is good with you, Mom. I love you.” That signals the tender end to our conversation. I have received my allotted time.
This is not a complaint. My daughter and I love one another deeply and our relationship is sustaining and satisfying to both of us. Yet there is always a moment, in the quiet after I hang up the phone, that I hear the questions that remain unasked. She doesn’t yet know enough about what it is to be an old woman to know what they are.