Saturday, September 16, 2017

An Inconvenience

Last night, my youngest daughter's school held a 'back-to-school' picnic. As I made my way there, along with four children (two un-pleased teenagers, one energetic seven year old and one excited four year old-armed with a stuffed animal and a blanket), my phone rang. It was my husband. I don't even have to look at the phone to know; I have a specific ring tone for his calls. Too many times have I missed a call... that's bad news! So, I answered and explained the current situation.

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.


  1. Yea... That's gotta be so hard for the both of you 😞. I never considered his side of the "inconvenience"

  2. So can relate. We do not know when they're going to be able to call. Mine use to have specific times until he got transferred now we speak maybe once a week or twice a week, 10-15 min. A click. No way am I going to miss them calls. Luckily mine is understanding, if he can't get a hold of me he will call his mom & she'll text me what he said. I'm lucky to be able to see him every Saturday & Sunday as well. ❣️