My mother called me on Thursday afternoon while I was finishing up some office work and about to run out the door to go to Toro. I was too busy to talk, so I screened the call. I know it's terrible to screen your parents but I felt it had to be done. I picked up her message after leaving Toro at midnight:
"Hi honey, it's mom. Just wanted to give you a call. Umm...give me a call when you get this, okay? I'm going to be on my way to work soon, but will be around tomorrow if I miss you. By, dear."
A nonchalant message to the casual listener, but I was slightly alarmed. Let me translate: my mother has it in her head that I am the busiest person in the world, and always humbly assumes that I am far too busy and important to actually call my parents back. She never actually requests that I "give her a call" unless something is up or wrong, like when our dog Happy died, or when she had that little breast cancer problem. Ordinarily, mom just says, "Just thinking of you, hope you're doing well, talk to you soon." Because I'm so busy and important (ha.)
Since mom's tone was decidedly even and calm, I thought it was probably okay to give her a ring at the end of my busy Friday afternoon.
"Hi Kirsten, how are you dear? Are you busy? Did you have a busy week?" my mom asked.
"Yes mom, it was a busy week. I'm sorry I missed you the other night, but I have a minute to talk now. What's up?"
"Well, I just wanted to call, and give you the news...your cousin delivered the baby on Wednesday." This is my younger cousin, who I found out was pregnant until last month. I'm just six years older than her, but since we mostly only ever saw each other when I was a teenager, said cousin is fixed in my mind as an 8 - 12 year old girl. In light of this, I was surprised to learn that she with child...and even more surprised when my mom said she was practically due.
"Oh, that's great! Boy or girl, mom?"
"Girl. And guess what she named the baby?"
"Um....I don't know, mom. Mary (after Grandma)? Liz (after her mom, my aunt)? I'll never guess. Just tell me."
"She named her...Kirsten Elizabeth."
"But...really? But...that's my name. Does she know that's my name, too?"
"I'm pretty sure she does, honey. People keep asking me if I think you'll mind. You don't mind, dear, do you?"
"Mind? No, not at all, of course I don't mind. I'm ridiculously flattered!"
And it's true: this news, which I felt certain would be bad news, has turned out to be some of the most flattering news I've ever received.
And a strong reminder to reconnect with this side of my family.