Monday, July 7, 2008

And I didn't even know they still did collect calls

“Collect call from Costa Rica,” a tiny voice with a huge accent was asking me if I would accept charges.

“Yes! Yes!” I quickly answered, anticipating some sort of terrible news from my daughter who was probably being held hostage by some fringe political group in the mountains of Costa Rica. It had been almost two weeks since she left, and, since I had not heard from her the entire time she was gone, I imagined the worst.

“Mom?”

“Yes, Kate! Are you O.K.?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Our flight’s been cancelled.”

What?! I had been expecting my oldest daughter home later that night. I couldn’t wait to throw my arms around her and barrage her with questions about the food, the culture, and, of course, the beautiful beaches.

How could that AAirline do that to me? I needed to see my baby and I needed to see her now!

“Looks like they will try to get us on a flight later tonight to Miami, and then we’re going to be booked on a flight back from Miami late tomorrow afternoon,” she said. When did that little girl get so good at making travel arrangements?

My feelings of pride at her sudden foray into adulthood didn't last long as I quickly lost composure, pounding her with questions.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” “Is everyone else alright?” “Just tell me the truth, are you healthy and are you safe?”

And did you remember to buy my primo Costa Rican coffee while you were there?

“Yes, yes, and YES, mom. We’re FINE, really.” I could feel her eyeballs rolling to the top of her head as she shook her head in mock disbelief at how her mom could be so . . . LAME.

“Well, alright. We’d better hang up now. This is a collect call and those are really expensive. Just tell me real quick, how was the trip? Did you have a good time?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s been great. Those little kids were so cute, and the people were wonderful. I don’t want to leave.”

Pppfffttt. (That’s the sound of the air being let out of my tires.) She doesn’t want to leave, huh? I tell you what, Missy, I want you to leave enough for the both of us, so get your little booty on the next plane out of there and come home!

Of course, moms can’t say those things. Moms have to be sympathetic and understanding and supportive, so moms just say, “Oh, I’m so glad you had a good time,” and I really am, but just now . . . at this moment . . . when you’re supposed to be getting on a plane and coming home to me . . . I’m a little bit bummed.

Well, dear daughter number 1 did make it home—in the middle of our 4th of July party and nearly 24 hours late. A little late and a little sleep-deprived, but none the worse for wear, she walked in with two suitcases full of dirty clothes and two weeks—more like two lifetimes—of memories.

I’m so glad she’s (finally!) home.

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