I often get asked how often I talk to my parents. And by talk, I do mean really talk – on the phone, FaceTime, Whatsapp call, or Skype – and not just text or Facebook message. Others’ answers range from every day to once a month. My answer? Almost every day.
The response to this is often a slightly shocked look, a “Wow, that’s a lot,” and an unasked, “Why?”.
Yes, it is often. But it works for me (and my parents), so I wanted to share why I do it and how I manage.
As with so many other mental and physical health habits, there’s obviously no right or wrong here.
I start every day with some sort of “good morning” text to my mom. Without it, my day isn’t complete. Sure, this may seem excessive, but it helps me start my day feeling loved.
Let’s keep in touch.
Depending on what’s going on in my day, I send my parents random updates throughout. Sometimes they respond, sometimes they don’t. And that’s exactly how I want it. It’s just nice to have an outlet, to share my thoughts and sometimes to simply just rant.
It’s an unspoken understanding that I’ll call my parents every evening (unless things get in the way, of course). I’m not sure how this started, but four years in, we’re still going strong. Sure, there are some days when it does feel like a bit of a hassle. Maybe nothing much happened that day, I have lots to do, or I’m just seriously hungry and don’t want to wait for dinner (I usually call them just before dinner), but whatever it is, unless it is urgent or I’m really tied up, I make it a point to call. Some days the call lasts 5 minutes, other days 50. And out of those 50, sometimes it’s just each of us doing our own thing and randomly interjecting here and there. It’s comforting and I love it.
Show you care.
Of course, I love talking to my parents, but the real reason I call is for them. It’s not as a favor, really. Rather, it brings me joy seeing (or hearing) them be happy, and I know they are when I call. It’s a show of affection. I mean, if I prioritize other things and don’t have five minutes to call them it simply doesn’t make sense to me. They want to know I’m okay and hear about my day, even if nothing exciting happens. They even ask what I’ve eaten for lunch sometimes. On my end, sometimes I wonder why it matters. But then I step back. Of course it does. I’m their kid, and they just care about me. At the end of a long day, that’s the best feeling.
This affection isn’t one-sided. I want to know the same things. Sure, a text would probably do the job, but a call feels more personal. It definitely helps that we’re in the same time zone, but there is more to it than that. I have the ability to come home on the weekend or for a special event – and I take advantage of that monthly – while my friends have parents living halfway across the world and sometimes don’t go home for the whole year. Yet, I call every day and they call once a week. Why?
Because I want to. Those daily calls make me happy – and it’s a bonus that my parents love them, too.
When you’re away at school, it can be easy to get wrapped up in your own world and your more independent life. Don’t forget to show your family back home you care about them. You can all benefit from a little extra love and communication, however often you choose to connect. If the monthly calls rock your world, that’s great. The daily calls rock mine.
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