When my children were young, I can remember being all crunched up on the grass as we observed ants carefully transporting their food and the times we drew elaborate underwater scenes on our driveway. We had carefree hours carving out pumpkins before Halloween. We built forts in our living room. Stepping on Legos scattered all over our house was part of the fabric of our lives.
The Internet was just coming into vogue. We only had one computer: that and due to the fact that we lived in Florida, our time was spent in the pool, by the beach or chasing fireflies after dinner. I’m grateful my children’s early years were primarily “technology free.” Without the interruption of technology, I had the freedom to do what I love best – explore.
So, it’s ironic, that today I find myself in the unlikely and unexpected place of writing a post in praise of my iPhone.
During my college years, there was only one public phone on our dorm floor. Each Sunday my suite mates and I would line up for our 10-minute call home. And while I gained a great deal of independence in my teens and twenties without the spontaneity of immediate connection, there was also a lack of intimacy with my parents. You just couldn’t afford to spend the money to share the details – nor were the details really expected.
Now as I find myself the mother of grown children, my iPhone has become my lifeline to my family. Steve calls on his way to work in NYC each morning; Doug was able to send a group text to all of us saying he was “safe” during the recent tragedy in Charleston; during a car trip to Michigan, I was able to help Lucy evaluate some new cushions for her apartment in The Hague – in real time; and now with Phil moving to China – WeChat will replace FaceTime.
People ask me, “How are you managing the business with Jane in the UK?” I say in much the same we did when she lived in Chicago. We still share the details of our life, as well as our business activities every day, through WhatsApp. While I miss seeing her smiling face, she is generally the first person I talk to in the morning, so it doesn’t feel like she is so far away.
As many of you know in just a few days my very full house will become awfully quiet.
So, I am grateful be living in a time where through technology my world can contract and expand at the same time.
And how my IPhone allows me the comfort of transforming my empty nest into a virtual home.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”