Why we’re laughing at the BBC interview with Professor Robert Kelly

When I was watching the footage of the BBC interview with Professor Robert Kelly, and his daughter came dancing into the room—followed by her baby brother in a walker—I couldn’t help but laugh. But I wasn’t laughing at his predicament, or his wife’s, as she swoops in to scoop up the children and try to save the interview.
I was laughing because I’ve been there. Haven’t we all?
No, not giving an interview on international politics on TV. But we’ve all been on important calls that are interrupted by a child. We’ve all been caught in one of those moments when you’re talking to someone and trying to make it seem as if you’re holding everything together, and your child pops in and lifts the curtain to give a glimpse into your real life.
Children have some kind of sixth sense for when mom or dad has some important thing to handle alone. The more important that is, the more likely the child can find a way to pop into the moment or, as Kelly’s daughter does, dance her way into the frame.

And let’s just pause for a moment and think of Kelly’s wife. She is a hero in this whole situation. No one can blame her that the children escaped her care. We’ve all been there, too.

Children are fast. The mom might have turned her head for just a moment—maybe to mop up the milk one of the children just spilled or to watch her husband’s interview on TV or answer the phone—and the children could have made a beeline for that one forbidden door.
No one is to blame for what ended up giving thousands—this family featured in the video included, I hope—a laugh. This is family life. This is the reality of being a parent—and especially the reality of being a parent working outside the home, or physically inside the home but with responsibilities outside the family. It can be a bit of a balancing act.
As I was watching the video, I was thinking that I was partly laughing with relief. Because we’ve all had the moments where we were suddenly exposed as not having all our ducks in a row. Who hasn’t had a child loudly announce a need to use the bathroom at an inopportune time, or a sibling skirmish erupt during a key conversation?
But now whenever that happens, I can just say to myself, “At least it didn’t happen while I was giving an interview on TV.”

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.