The last time I saw my Mom we were both sick and coughing.
It was before Christmas.
Since then we've bridged the 500 miles between us with short (coughing) conversations, short email and even shorter texting.
Then the other night my Mom calls and asks me a question about something she'd emailed me and apparently I'd ignored.
"I didn't see that question," I tell her, unrepentant. "I get so many questions on email.... I feel like they're writing assignments....Or I glance at them and think I read them but I didn't... I'm sorry."
Mom doesn't laugh.
I hear her take a deep breath like she's dealing with a teenager and needs to choose her words carefully.
The silence feels like she is gathering her courage to say something difficult.
Finally she asks, "Melissa. Please. How can I better communicate with you?"
Now she has my full attention.
No one EVER talks to me that way, at least not since I got tenure.
So I finally push PAUSE and tell her the truth.
"Mom, I just discovered Kitchen Nightmares. I mean, all this time, I never saw it, and now I'm catching up and I'm watching two and three of them a day!"
Now we're communicating.
She suggests that I'd probably also like Top Chef.
I admit to watching Teen Mom 2, Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn, American Idol, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Shameless, Boardwalk Empire, Tabitha's Salon Takeover, and as I'm trying to remember other things to make my confession complete, I add "OH! AND there's a new America's Next Top Model! Isn't that AWESOME??"
We giggle together, and then, finally, we talk about Abuelo, about Cuba, about things going on in our family, and we talk and talk until my finger itched so badly I *had* to undo the pause button and see Gordon stick his hand into a box of moldy fruit.
My Mom understood this compulsion, and we got off the phone, happily connected again.