The Hang-Up

It had been a long day and wasn’t anywhere near being over. It was about 8:30pm on Friday and I had a review paper, a presentation critique, and homework grading to finish. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, procrastination. Anyway, in the midst of my adrenaline-fueled kamikaze typing, my phone rings. What does it say?

Restricted.

Oh well. Silence ringer. Let it go to voicemail. Then it rings again and again it says the number is restricted. Because the second call came so quickly, I figured it was someone I knew. I pick up the phone and a very high-pitched foreign voice comes on. I immediately think it’s the wrong number. “Hello?” The person on the other end continues their gibberish. Just as I’m about to hang up, I hear giggles and immediately recognize who it is. My 12-year-old sister trying to prank me. *sigh* Seeing as how I have a mountain of work to get through, I try to get her to stop giggling and tell me what she called me for. She asks me when she can get a facebook account. When I say I almost cussed her out….

See, this isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation and it won’t be the last. She’s hardheaded and doesn’t understand it when she doesn’t get what she wants, even though she’s not spoiled. And the fact that I was already stressed with all my work made me more upset that she bothered me with this. I tried to explain that I had work to do and that we could talk later, but she wouldn’t budge. Her facebook campaign was important to her. So, I hung up.

I just hung up. No goodbye.

I’ll tell you what, it. felt. good. I would never punch my sister in the face, but if I could punch certain aspects of her personality in the face, that’s what it would feel like. To be honest though, it left a bad taste in my mouth after a while.

I’ve made a big deal about putting family over my career before. Planning on having a career as demanding as a university professor will make you think about how your family will fit into the equation. But even with that, I always knew I would be good. I wouldn’t let my family get left behind. I wouldn’t be THAT guy. Then what did I just do to my sister? Did I put her first in that case? Granted, her conversation was absolutely trivial, but she’s still a little girl who needs love and support from the older brother she doesn’t get to see or hear from often. In that instance, I didn’t put family first and I took my work frustration out on my sister. I think the two most important things that I realized is 1) I’ve got to be more mindful of how I treat my family, even when their requests are insignificant, and 2) I won’t always put my family first, no matter how much I want to believe it. I’ll have days where I ignore them, brush them off, cancel plans, and put work-related stuff above them. That side of me will rear it’s ugly head from time to time.

My sister and I spoke the next day and I apologized for hanging up on her. I wanted her to know that I thought what I did was wrong and that I could’ve handled the situation better. Then we continued our conversation from the night before (no, she doesn’t get to have a Facebook account yet). I just hope that I never put my family so  far on the back burner that they lose sight of how much I love them.

-TDA

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