The calls come interspersed between loads of laundry and sprays of polish. I hear the 'quack quack' over the whirr of the washing machine (yes, my ring tone is a duck!) Immediately my hands are empty and reaching for the phone, certain that the caller will be one of a small handful of people I look forward to hearing from. And it usually is (when it's not someone encouraging me to claim back PPI!)
With the phone tucked snugly between ear and shoulder, I resume folding clothes and washing dishes - It's probably going to be a long chat!
'How are you?' is not worth saying, we already know, we probably spoke only days, maybe hours before. We share stories of the day, the things that made us smile and the hilarious things our children did that morning. We explain our worries and fears and re-assure each other that we too are feeling the same, that you are not alone. We discuss the deep issues, the anxieties, the depressions, the longing for more, and we encourage each other, we share love and life and experiences.
Most importantly, we build each other up where others tear us down.
Where would I be without my small handful of dear friends, without my therapists, my cheerleaders, my mentors...my sisters. Who would I be without those who make me brave, who make me kind, who guide and mold my life without intention, who simply care enough to call amidst the frenzy of raising children and juggling the responsibilities of life.
As hours pass and husbands fall asleep alone, and we really must go but just one more thing! - and it doesn't matter if the signal fails or the battery dies, because the next time I'm cleaning skirting boards and I hear the 'quack quack', my hands will be emptied, my ears and heart ready to listen, and I'm reaching for the phone.