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520 days


521 days ago, I realized I wasn't keeping in touch with either of my parents as much as I wanted to be in touch with them. I wanted to be in contact with them frequently, so that they knew I was thinking about them, that I was hoping they were doing well, that I love them, and that I was hoping they were healthy and enjoying life.

I had recently started using Habit List on my phone, so I added "Mom" and "Dad" to my daily habit list tracker to start the next day. My goal was to contact Mom and Dad very day for a year. Could we stay in touch daily for a year? Phone calls, emails, texts, visiting, all of these counted as "staying in touch." Sending a text by itself didn't count as staying in touch, they had to respond and engage in a conversation for me to be able to say, "Yes, I contacted each of my parents today."

I didn't let on what I was doing until about 10 months in, when I told Mom how well we had been doing. She didn't realize the streak we had going, but immediately jumped on it. She embraced the idea and switched from being the responder to the initiator on most conversations. We made it 365 days, and have kept it up longer, even through some difficult-communication travel days when she didn't have cell service (used my aunt's phone or emailed) or I was travelling with very strange hours (hello, New Zealand).

We are currently at 520 days in a row we have communicated with each. I love this.

Dad and I have missed 6 days in those 520 days that Mom and I have managed. Dad's phone completely died, so we lost a day there. I forgot to text one Wednesday, inventory day for Dad, and he was too busy to notice, so we missed that one. We were talking a couple months ago about how we had managed to miss each other only 2 times in the first year, and he was stunned. "I knew we were chatting a lot, I didn't realize how much, though!"

I think this is great. I'm very happy I have the opportunity to connect with my parents this way, that we are able technology-wise to communicate daily in non-stressful ways, that we are able to support each other even from long distances, and that we have the relationships where we want to do this. I am grateful for the years, and hope they know how much I love them.

Maybe 520 daily reminders in a row will show a small dent in how much.

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