Such an “Emma” moment it was. In fact, few can get away with some of the things Emma does…or says. Even Olivia has been known to pass from anger to laughter in a flash of a moment. On this particular night, I never got to anger. Sometimes, her quick wit eludes even the fiercest of tempers. There’s really not that much to the story. It’s just a good way to introduce Emma. She had asked me to study science with her earlier that evening, when I was finished working of course. Apparently she had a science test the next day. She doesn’t really talk much to me these days, unless she needs something specific, like a study partner. I’m first string for science, but not for social studies. We’re ranked like that – 1st string and 2nd string for various subjects. Her dad is 1st string for social studies as it seems I ask too many questions and point out her spelling errors to which she responds “This is not English mother!”
Tuesday had been a really hectic day for me and I had so much left to do that evening. Having just started a Masters program a couple weeks earlier (and 27 years later than the last time I was in college), I was feeling overwhelmed with class time, reading time, essay research, technology and this thing called APA formatting. Earlier that day, I had remembered that I had forgotten a project team commitment due EOD (end of day – which is quite subjective when you work in a remote environment). I finished editing the final product around 8:45pm. I was so anxious to get started on my 2nd paper, but Emma came in and reminded me about my promise to study with her. With anxiety, I rushed her into the chair in my office and got us started.
As I’m sitting across from her asking her questions in support of her academic success (she’s quite the smarty), enduring complaints and feedback from her at every turn about the errors of my study partner ways, I notice her head – and eyes – facing downward to her hands, which couldn’t be seen. They were slightly covered by a blanket, which was my first and only clue. I’m a pretty smart mom. I know when someone’s looking at her phone. I do it myself sometimes during meetings. It’s so addictive – you hear that sound that tells you someone thinks you or your answers are critical to solving some world problem at that very moment. Anyway, I look at her with mom’s eyes and in a mom tone ask her what she’s doing. She glances up, looks straight at me with confidence and says “Don’t worry, I’m not texting. I’m on Instagram.” Seeing the look on my face, she asks and answers her own question in that self-critical, yet not really regretful tone, one that only Emma can employ with some measure of success – “Is that bad? I think that’s bad.”
I started my paper around 10:15pm that night and worked well past midnight. I often do just about anything for my 2 girls. Is that bad? I think that’s bad.