My daughter and her father are spending this week in Florida, an annual tradition for them. What is unusual this time is the role technology is playing in our communication. She has a smart phone now (yes, I know, she’s only 10) and it seemed like a great way for us to stay in touch. And it has been…with a few missteps.
This week started out with a text message from her to let me know that they had arrived safely in Orlando. Her message: “just got here picking up the rental car man is hot”
It took several (very long!) seconds before I remembered that she never uses punctuation in her texts and, in this case, missed a very important letter “t”. It should have read “Just got here. Picking up the rental car. Man, it’s hot.” TOTALLY different meaning! Once my heart started up again, it was pretty funny.
The next morning I woke up to my phone ringing at 7am. It was her dad telling me to go online to watch a live webcam of her first surfing lesson on one of those wave simulators. Fun! (You can see whoever is using it right now if it's between 9am & 10pm, EST). I spent the next 20 minutes watching her get progressively bolder and bolder until she suddenly takes a spill and is thrown up over the top of the wave. I hear muffled voices and then…nothing. I hold my breath until I can’t take it anymore and text her dad “What happened?” Turns out she twisted her ankle and they were heading for the ER. Talk about a hopeless feeling! But she was just fine. An ice pack or two and she was off and running to their next adventure.
I have to admit that I was looking forward to sleeping in this week, a rare treat for me. But every morning at 6 or 7, my phone starts ringing and, being a chronic worrier, there is no way I can ignore it. It’s always a giggly voice on the line asking “What time is it there?” It took a few days for it to dawn on me that she is perfectly capable of understanding the time difference. She was doing it on purpose! But I still can’t ignore the phone call and I haven’t let on that I know what she is doing. The day will come when calling mom, even just to wake her up from 2600 miles away, won’t be a big priority so I’ll gladly trade it for sleep.
I just finished a video chat with her and I have to admit it is pretty neat. I got to have a visual tour of where they are and see her face-to-face. I usually hate video chat. I don’t want to have to brush my hair just to answer the phone! But in this case it’s been great. And I look forward to the photos of their activities that she texts to me throughout the day. So I’ll grudgingly admit that there are some advantages to all the communication options now.