Every day that I am in Court or anywhere outside the house, unfailingly, the phone rings. At least once, sometimes twice, sometimes more often. Its one of my two daughters hitting the panic buttons…breathlessly she says “Ma I am home, I got a C in geography, and I need a box of glass paints in the evening.” I look serious, I try to keep the smile in my voice as I tell them okay and I’ll discuss this when I am home and hang up. Only to have the phone ring again, “Ma, Ma, I have a history and science test tomorrow, Ma can I not have the fish?” “Ma can I have coke?” another voice pipes in! You get the drift.
Now I guess it’s my fault. When they were small, it seemed a sensible idea to have them call when they came home from school. It still is, but sometimes I cannot take the call because I am in the middle of arguments or something and then God help you, they keep calling and the damn phone is vibrating in your pocket like there is no tomorrow and you want to throw the buzzing thing out of the window but you grin and bear it. So as soon as I can, I call the girls. “Its okay, we spoke to Baba.” Grrrowl. After giving me ten missed calls!
When they were younger it was worse. Especially when they had holidays. The phone rings. Whenever it was from home I made it a point back then to drop everything and take the call. I rush out of the courtroom, the phone has stopped ringing and call back. “Ma, a voice asks me breathlessly, “can I wear the pink pants today?” Sigh.
It went on to at least eight phone calls in the seven or eight hours I was out of the house. And my husband started muttering about the phone bills. So I sat them down and explained what is an emergency. And when one should call. I called them aside and gently explained how what colour track pants they wore was not an emergency, how a “Bob the Builder” show was not an emergency and I really didn’t care that the box of chalk had fallen behind the piano.
They nod wisely and I think that is that.
So, next time I get a call, a sing song voice tells me “Ma I’m not saying this is an emergencery but can I eat the chocolate cake in the fridge?”
What do you do? What does any mother do, but tear her hair out in frustration?
Now things are comparatively better. Only I cannot always participate in my daughter’s excitement when they come home. Like yesterday, Isha returns from school and calls. She is very excited that she is one of the girls chosen to give an interview to some newspaper about some interactive session they had. She is over the moon with delight I look at the four dead pan faces of my clients staring at me and in a flat monotone I assure her that I will look into the matter and hang up before she can wail.
Later, much later, “Ma, why aren’t you happy for me? I am soooo excited.”
So I explain that I was working and of course I’m excited but I can’t actually jump for joy at my workplace where every body maintains the demeanor of a stuffed cow and I think she understands.
Today she comes home and calls. She’s got her choir badge (whatever that is) and she ‘looooves it’ and is ‘sooooo excited’, and she has no tests the whole of the next week! I look around me, there’s no one nearby. “Heyyyyyyy,” I say. “I am so excited!” I say in a sing song voice and ask her how her day was.
Silence. Then, ”Maaaa, why are you talking so much? Get back to work,” she says and hangs up!
It’s a no win situation, right?