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One call changes everything
One call changes everything
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
We all have these experiences: you’re in the middle of something; perhaps it’s important, perhaps it’s something ordinary, like cooking a meal; everything changes in an instant.

I have had a few of these phone calls.

The worst, naturally, was the time my brother called to let me know Mum had died. One phone call full of numb shock, goosebumps and sniffing tears. We’d been expecting that call for a while as she’d been terribly ill, but nothing could prepare me for actually hearing the words. That was it. I had to arrange to travel up the coast, excuse myself from work and do what no adult child ever wants to do, bury a parent.

The one call may not always be distressing. It could be an invitation to a party. Maybe you’ve won a competition or been offered a job. I remember those wonderful calls made after my kids were born. Phoning everyone to give them the news, and not remembering anything I said afterwards from all the excitement. I even left a message on a wrong number. That’s a privilege the new dad often gets more than the mom as she’s normally resting.

I got a call today. Mr Dunlop, the school secretary said, please arrange to pick Jonah up from school, he’s feeling sick.

Quite an ordinary call, and yet it sparked off a chain of fretting. I work quite a long way away from the school and it would take me too long to get there by train, and his mom was in a meeting. My cell phone chose today to stop working, so I couldn’t call anyone to find out about plans B or C. Eventually we managed to make a plan to have the poorly little guy collected as Karen saved the day, but it was horrible to picture him waiting in the sick bay… and waiting…

Now that I think about it, I’m daydreaming about what it would be like to get a call to say I’ve won R50million. The way people respond to new great wealth is quite interesting. There are savers and then there are splurgers. I’m a splurger. I have a little admiration for the people who win the lottery and say they’ll invest it all and carry on as if nothing has changed. It’s the lottery, man! If you win it, you’re supposed to jump on the next flight to the tiny tropical island you’ve just bought and roll around in wads of cash in your private castle.

Or put a little away for the kid’s education and buy a slightly bigger car.

Parenting, hey? The responsibilities never end.

Why not share your best (or worst) phone call stories with us? Send it to and win a R250 voucher!

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