The other day I was reading a book and wanted to show Joshua something in it. He was studying for a licensing exam and, honestly, a little annoyed I had interrupted him. I quickly apologized and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t need to bother you right now.”
But then he just smiled at me, invited me over to sit next to him on the couch, and said, “You can always bother me.”
My husband’s words reminded me of a famous quote from St. Therese of Lisieux:
I choose to be interrupted.
Therese was 24 years old when she died. She lived a short life as a cloistered Carmelite in a convent. She had a demanding schedule of prayer, cleaning, and writing an autobiography. Much was asked of her, and she always said yes.
She chose to be interrupted. She chose to respond to anything and everything anyone needed of her.
Though Therese was a celibate nun, marriage and parenthood require the same attitude.
I am constantly interrupted. All day every day. Peter may eat on a decently predicable schedule and nap at fairly consistent times during the day, but he’s not a robot. He’s a five-month-old who relies on me for everything. I’ve definitely arrived late to meet a friend more than once because he pooped so much his diaper overflowed and got his onesie all dirty.
I can’t always live the schedule I want in the evening when he goes to bed, either. My spouse and I do not live parallel lives; we are not roommates just sharing a bed. We spend time together, prioritize each other.
What I’ve found in being a wife and especially in being a mother is that we will get interrupted in life no matter what. We will never have full control of our schedule. People will always need us. Letting ourselves be interrupted forms another level of healthy boundaries.
Letting ourselves be interrupted, allowing the people we love to be important, is having boundaries with ourselves. It’s saying, “I can lay my life down right now for my spouse and my child.”
Being annoyed that we can’t do what we want is natural.
Choosing to be interrupted is saintly.