My mother called this evening, which was quite the shock. I believe that our last phone call was when I called her in February to tell her I was pregnant. In March, I sent an email to let her and my sisters know about the miscarriage, and that was how we left things.
Trillian and I keep a family blog where we can post updates and pictures. Just about two weeks ago, Trillian wrote about the autism checklist and where things stood for Scooter. I was pretty sure that she had read the entry, but was actually relieved that I hadn't heard from her directly.
The conversation began with a discussion of the family reunion we're going to in August. She and at least one of my sisters will be heading down to see some family on the other side after the main event and wanted to see if I would want to join them. I'll still be teaching then, so I won't be able to extend the trip--something I actually regret since my favorite aunt is one of the people we'd be seeing.
Then she turned to the matter I would have expected to lead off. So we talked some about where we are in the process of getting Scooter evaluated. The role of genetics came up--when she mentioned that there are certain characteristics that run in our family. I agreed and mentioned that I'm pretty sure that, had the idea of high-functioning autism been the sort of thing tested for when I was a child, I probably would have fallen in the nebulous borders of such a diagnosis (more on that later). I decided not to point out that I'm pretty sure she would too, though I did mention that it tends to show up in children of engineers, computer experts, mathematicians, and the like. No need to remind her that her family is full of mathematicians, herself included.
And then I decided to slip in a subject I have avoided bringing up with her, our plans of moving closer to Trillian's parents. I started with the small town we're looking at, the high incidence of autism there, their public schools and incredibly well developed autism-support program, the public preschool for developmentally delayed children. And then I moved on to the possible job in the city where my in-laws live, but omitting all mention of said in-laws. No discernible reaction, something she'll probably meditate on for a while.
To my mother's credit, she was bearable, almost pleasant, nothing particular that rubbed me the wrong way. But I still wish it were more than that--more natural, less obligatory, a time when I didn't feel I need to guard my words. Luckily I have my aunt and mother-in-law, both of whom tend to say just the right thing or at least know when to just listen.