The other day I was chatting with an aquaintance when his cell phone rang.
He reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out the phone and checked the number.
“Just a minute,” he said holding up his index finger, “It’s my son.”
No problem. They chatted for a few minutes while I stared at the ground and then my cuticles and then the ground some more. By the lilt and chatter of the conversation, it was apparent to me that there was no real emergency, but whatever, it made no difference to me.
When he snapped the phone shut, he said proudly, “That was my son. I’m always available when he calls.”
To which I responded, “Oh.”
After we finished our conversation, I got in my car and drove off.
And as I drove away I began to mull over what had just happened. I wasn’t offended that he took the call, not at all, but I recalled that his son is in his mid-20s and lives in another state. And then I wondered at what point, as a parent, should we stop being always available to our children.
And then I laughed to myself because I was thinking somewhere around the age of four.