Even if my children are fully engaged in projects of their own, I can count on at least one of them interrupting me with someone’s urgent need the minute I sneak off for some time to myself.

I consider this psychic phenomena to be one of Life’s small mysteries.

I was busy with a project that I wanted to complete before dinner. As my stolen minutes slipped away, I became increasingly irritable. Determined to complete my task within my self-imposed timeframe, I quietly asked for reinforcement.

My obliging husband came over to help. Ungraciously, I disapproved of his action plan and we bickered over how best to proceed. This is when I heard the phone ringing.

“Don’t answer it!” I shouted to all persons within earshot. “Let it go to voicemail!”

Unwisely, Liam approached me with the phone.

Seeing him coming, I warned him away. “Whoever it is, please tell them that I will call them back.”

“It’s Nana,” he said.

“Liam,” I said, grasping at at a civil tone but not catching it. “I am busy; tell Nana that I will call her back.”

He returned fifteen seconds later. I dropped the heavy object I was carrying but managed to avoid stepping on his foot. Totally exasperated, I yelled at him to get out of the way.

“Nana just has one question!”

“I. Will. Call. Her. Back.” We glared at each other.

“Jeesh,” he muttered as he slunk off with the phone. Taking a deep breath, I knew that the Catholic principles I had spent my childhood steeping in were about to resurface. Guilt lapped over me.

A shower, followed by a glass of red wine, improved my mood significantly. The phone rang. I went out onto the porch to take my mother’s call. I apologized cheerfully for not calling her back right away. Was it something important? What did she need?

Her voice was frosty. “I just wanted to know: Did you watch Kennedy’s funeral?”