“Hey Mom… come see!”
I don’t know about you, but the end of that sentence holds some of my least favorite, favorite words in the world. Take those 2 words, multiply them by 3 kids (and 1 husband), all of whom are expert conversationalists (i.e. they talk so dang much) and you can imagine how often I hear it. It’s not the words I mind. In fact, on my best days, it warms my heart that any/all of them care enough to show me something. It’s the interruption that kills me. So. Many. Interruptions.
I don’t handle them well either; not well at all. It’s (one of) my Achilles heel(s). The disgraceful way I handle interruptions. Let’s be real, it’s not like this is a new development, either. The interruptions started almost 10 years ago with the birth of our oldest and have only increased in speed and frequency. In the beginning, their needs are so basic: feeding, diaper change, etc. it’s not like you can argue. By the time kids start talking, interruptions have become a way of life but it’s so cute, you almost don’t care. Before you know it, though, they’re calling you over to explain something about a video game and your immensely grateful to have a good poker face.
Have you ever heard the joke about the interrupting cow? I wonder how his mom felt as she ‘just tried to enjoy a few bites of hay for goodness sakes!‘ I guarantee you that’s when it happened, as soon as she tried to eat something. Some days it seems my kids only need me when I try to eat… or pee… or have an important conversation. I know it’s not just me, but I bet you handle it better than I do, at least on the inside.
Before I get too far, don’t worry, I do make them wait. Especially as they get older, and more self-sufficient. I push back; they fend for themselves. “Of course you can have some milk, fix it yourself.” (Sidebar: It always amazes me how not-thirsty a kid becomes when left to their devices.) I close the bathroom door, too, to give Mom some privacy. (It’s also apparently a signal that they should line up outside the bathroom door to wait for me. “Are you almost done? It’s an emergency, I can’t find my shoe!”)
…for all of it. The conversations about make-believe worlds and hypothetical superhero battles. I break concentration to discuss the most recent shifts of the middle school social scene and am ‘amazed’ at endless sports statistics. (Thanks, Alexa.) I know how important it is that they have my attention. It doesn’t mean I don’t cringe on the inside. I know that one day they might not want to show me as much. I might have to fight to stay involved. It scares me to think about how quickly those days are approaching. But here, right smack dab in the middle of Interruption City, it gets a little overwhelming.
It’s the reason moms around the world stay-up-late or rise-extra-early. For the sacred few moments when everyone is asleep. (My above-mentioned poker face takes at least one, quiet, a cup of coffee to work.) And now, we forge ahead. Attempting to take the interruptions in stride, or at the very least acting, as we do. (Fake it till you make it, right?) We’ll sprinkle in a few “In-a-minute’s” and “No, you come see!” to get us through. Because at the end of the day, is there anything more precious than a kid who wants to share their world with you? I totally agree.
PS: After I typed the last sentence I realized I might not totally agree… sleep, wine, Netflix, a good book, all possibly-equally precious… without interruption of course. And now we’re back where we started.