The Technological Tucking In
Technology is amazing. I just have to say it.
Even five or six years ago, when my daughters would visit their grandparents in another state, we would be talking with them on the phone, maybe a half hour or more, and that was it. Photos? We got those when they came home, printed from my mother’s 35mm camera. Or if they were digital, we waited an inordinate amount of time for the email to load with what we considered, then, to be a gigantic file.
Today, much as it can be the detriment to your attention span, technology is my life’s blood. Particularly in the summer.
Three of my kids are visiting their grandparents. It’s soon to be a fourth, when my oldest finishes the project I need her help with and heads out of state as well.
The house is quiet . . . almost too quiet, you might say. I spent many a night waiting for my son to walk in having had a nightmare. He’d had the same bad dream every night for what seemed like a month. Saturday night, after the kids had already landed and made it to their grandparents’ house, I went to bed. I found myself awaking around 3am, the normal time my son would walk in, and think to myself: “I hope he’s okay tonight.” It would dawn on me after a few minutes that he wasn’t here . . . he was in another state. I then worried that he wouldn’t want to bother his grandparents and tell them he was scared. After an hour of having successfully kept myself up most the night I realized it: he would go tell them. My parents would hug him and take care of him just like I would, that’s where my knowledge comes from and that’s just second nature to them.
So tonight I called . . . using Apple’s “FaceTime” feature and saw my kids bounding around. At one point my son walked in circles around the house so many times we had to tell him to stop. He was making us seasick. His brother kept poking his head into frame, so close we could see up his nose. Their sister stood there, moving her hair in front of her face like a curtain. It was abundantly clear . . . they really had no idea how technology really worked.
“You know we can see you, right? How about you put your head into frame instead of showing us the light fixtures behind you and blinding us?”
They giggled and did it again.
But the activity, the flurry, and the running around showed me they were really happy. They smiled, they talked about riding bikes all day long and how it was cool, a Midwestern thunderstorm had rolled through and they watched the lightning and jumped at the thunder. They helped their grandma make homemade noodles for chicken soup. Nothing in their demeanor said they were unhappy.
Well, except their teenage sister. She’s moody and angst-filled, as always. That’s a teenager’s job to be grumpy and moody.
My point to all this is that the technology, much as it sounds like a cheesy tech ad, is truly bringing us closer. The multiple states between us have melted away and I get a glimpse into the world through a 4 or 5 inch screen. It’s like something out of 1984 or Phillip K. Dick novel – the technology there, handy, always around. Still, no Big Brother invading our pictures – that I know of (He said to the NSA monitors raising an eyebrow) – just the glimpse of family. All of our family.
It reinforces for them that they may very well be in another place but as family we’re always just a click away. We’re together, and we’re stronger together than when we’re apart.