We continued our conversation as I walked towards the picnic. I waved at the Principal, nodded at the PTA lady, mouthed "thank you" as I was handed a slice of pizza, all while talking on the phone. Situations such as this one are part of my life. I never get used to it, though. Truth be told, it's an inconvenience. I know, it sounds horrible! I'm lucky to be receiving a phone call, to hear that my loved one is ok. But the inconvenience is mutual; I am not giving him the attention that he deserves and I know it frustrates him. He complains about the poor quality of conversation. At the same time, I am not fully there; this time it's a picnic, but in the past it has been a wedding, graduation, Quinceanero, doctor's appointment, exercise class, a movie at the theater... everyday events. And they can't be paused. So what do I do? I answer the call.
I can just imagine what the people around me must be thinking. "Jeez, you'd think that lady would put the phone down!" They don't know that the man on the other end can't call back later. I can't call him, email him or text him. He doesn't control when he can call me. Time is irrelevant to him. It doesn't matter if I send him a schedule so he knows when things are happening. If he has the chance to call, he's gonna call. You will never hear me say, "this is not a good time." That's not to say that I'll sit on the phone in the middle of my work day. On the very rare occasion that he has called during the day, it has been imperative that he talk to me. I get nervous when that happens.
It makes me sad to make him feel unappreciated, just because he happened to call at an inconvenient time. The reality though, is that I cannot control when events take place either. I can just see it, "Mr. Principal, please schedule the picnic after 9 pm. My husband is not likely to call then." Or, "let's have this graduation between the hours of 11 and 3, when there's no rec. at his current facility and I'm less likely to be interrupted!" The truth is, the world doesn't wait for any of us. We have to choose to join in or to sit out. I choose to carry on; attending events, going to Zumba, hosting birthday parties and so on. At times you might find me narrating by way of cellphone (because, of course, he wants a play by play of what's going on!). It actually helps him understand that life is hectic out here. It also makes him sad to be missing out on all of it. Just like it stresses me out to have to juggle the phone while I multi-task, only half doing each thing. The reward is that we can re-visit the conversation later and create a new memory. After all, he was there... kind of.