Daddy waiting for the phone to ring

I cannot get my daughter to call me back.

I leave message on the ex’s house phone, but the kid is too busy or forgetful.

It actually hurts. But I also feel foolish expecting a 7-year-old to return phone calls. Phones are hard to speak on when you’re young, and a conversation with dad feels like too much of an obligation.

Still. I gently explain that she should return my calls, that it’s important she and I stay in touch on the three or four nights per week that she’s not with me.

“Yes, daddy, I’ll return your calls.”

Then, nothing.

I’m not certain it’s O.K. to punish her for not calling me back. It seems extreme, especially for a child so young.

But just a three-minute phone conversation sets my breathing right, lets me know she’s fine, allows me to unclench. I need to hear from my too-far-off child.

All I can do is leave messages and remind her mother to have her call me.

I don’t like living out of touch.

But that’s where I am right now.