Five Minutes

It was only for five minutes. But it was the best five minutes of the whole day.

In the middle of thawing the turkey (don’t you hate that part?) and making the stuffing, the phone rang. I thought it was a family member with the annual mandatory Thanksgiving greeting. But when I glanced at the caller-ID, it said my son’s school. The one in Montana. The one I left him at thirty days ago.

My first thought was – oh shit. What did he do? Are they calling to tell me he’s expelled? That I should buy him a one-way ticket home pronto? Expecting the worst, I hesitantly clicked the phone’s on-button and said hello.

“This is the Monarch School. I am calling to ….”

My heart beat faster. I know it’s the Monarch School, you fucking idiot. I can tell from the caller-ID. What bomb are you about to drop in my lap? That’s what I want to know.

“… let you talk to your son for the holiday call.”

Holy shit, I thought. Good news? The best news? I get to talk to my son for the first time in a month?! My body immediately went from stressing out over the worst (now what am I going to do to get him through high school?) to elation for the surprise. Tears poured down my morning face. I get to talk to my son. I get to hear his voice.

I immediately put the phone on speaker, screamed at my unknowing daughter to put the now meaningless Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on mute and ran to the couch so we could have five minutes. Five short minutes to connect with my son, her brother.

I couldn’t talk fast enough. Poor guy. I barraged him with questions. Are you okay? Are the people nice? Are you making friends? Are you losing weight? What’s up with the bad grade? Do you still hate me for sending you there?

There was just not enough time. I only had five minutes.

At one point, he said to me, “Mom, you’re manic!”

I retorted, “Of course, I’m manic. I only have five minutes!”

For five minutes, the love poured back and forth and then in a flash, time was up. He had to go. We reassured him (or probably more myself) that we’d be there for Christmas and then sadly, I pressed the phone’s off button.

Our five minutes had come and gone.

My daughter and I embraced on the couch, crying in the messy mix of joy and sadness. My son, her brother, was okay. And yet his being missing from our Thanksgiving table was a sight we’d never get used to.

It was only five minutes. But it was the best five minutes of the whole day. It was more than enough to warm my heart and change the tone for the entire day.

Maybe, sometimes, five minutes is all we ever need.

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