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Monday, October 20, 2014

My Phone Number Doesn't Change

My first cellphone was a pay-as-you-go deal that I never remembered to use or pay for and so, in college, I changed phone numbers the way my dorm mates changed boyfriends. A year after college my husband had a solid job, we had two kids, and we'd bought a house. My grandfather lived a few hours away, along isolated back roads with cattle and suicidal deer, and suddenly the idea of a working cellphone seemed prudent to me.

I signed the two year contract and got myself a phone with a Texas area code.

Two years later the job moved and we moved with it. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida... the job kept moving, but the phone number never changed.

My primary excuse was that my kids and my grandma both knew the number by heart. I wasn't going to make my daughter, who struggled to say her name, learn a new phone number every time we packed up to chase the paycheck.

Secretly, the reason I kept the number was so I wouldn't lose track of anyone. I squirreled away phone numbers for friends like they would be my only sustenance for winter. In South Carolina I thought I spotted an old friend from Texas. Sure enough, her number was still on my phone. A quick text later and I knew it was her. She was in town visiting family, did I want to get together for dinner? Another time it was midnight phone call from a dear friend struggling with being a single parent. We hadn't talked in nearly a year, but she knew my phone number was good.

This morning it was a text from a girl in Alabama. The last time I saw her I had three kids and Bug was still crawling (FTR: Bug is in kindergarten and I have four children now). The last time I saw her she was in high school, learning to drive, competing for first chair flautist in band. This morning she wanted my address so she could send a wedding invite.

They grow up so fast!

It's easy to think that everyone you leave behind freezes in place when you walk away. They don't everyone keeps living. They grow up, change, move on... And sometimes, if you're very lucky, they reconnect.

That's why my phone number doesn't change. No matter where life takes me, I don't ever want to be more than ten digits away from anyone.

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