I race to the phone and call my husband and my mother. It is absolute instinct to call my mom first, I think, my fingers are flying over the telephone buttons in my excitement. How many more years will she be in my life? I want to cherish every second. If I’m happy, she’s happy, that’s how she operates. Me being happy would make HER happy. It’s a gift for both of us. I have two adult children, I totally understand.
At the same time, on another line, I call my husband who is my best friend and life-long partner. He is the person who knows me best and loves me the most and puts up with my crap. He sticks with me, we go through everything together. We have two adult children and a dog. We think alike when it comes to big issues, family first. We’ve been doing that for over 25 years of marriage, I adore him and we still have a lot of fun. He ties for first place, he would genuinely be happy for me, for us.
There is no joy in having amazingly good, fantastic news if you can’t share it with the ones you love.
EavesdroppingABSOLUTELY.It’s one of my favorite habits. I don’t listen to cell-phone conversations, in fact I glare at those rude enough to be talking so loudly inside a store or a restaurant. However, if I am seated next to a couple, my husband and I will naturally cock our ears it we pick up an interesting word or two, then we discuss it afterwards. My point: if you are talking so loudly that everyone around you can easily HEAR YOU, you shouldn’t really consider it private. You want privacy? Talk about it at home or whisper….
According to my mother (my teenagers’ grandmother) you would think that society and civilization are quickly burning up with raging orange and red flames of fire because of two second text messages. That said, it is a new generation and technology obviously has changed interaction within families and in the general public.
In my generation we spent all our free time on the phone. I remember walking back and forth from the kitchen to the living room with the long, dirty, coiled, yellow stretchy phone cord to talk to my friends from school who I had just seen hours before. This was way before call-waiting too.
Then there was e-mail and even us parents could pretty much keep up with that as well as the older generation. But now? My children text obsessively on their multi-faceted phones and we have to force them to turn them off while we are eating (which sometimes they do and sometimes they pretend to do.) On a weekend away with the entire family our mother could not believe that the first thing her four grandchildren did was check their phones and Facebook. She was disgusted and distraught and my sister and I (and husbands) were used to it. Our mother took it as a personal affront.
Things change, people change, as parents we get used to things; we have no choice but it is helpful to set limits. The older generation think we have all lost our collective parental minds. In defense of my children they can keep up a great conversation at any time, they do well in school and we have adjusted. That’s what parenting is all about, you need to change with your children and with the times and set some boundaries. Is it easy? Not always. Will it make your children unable to have a reasonable conversation over a family dinner? No. Honestly, if I could figure out how to use one of those fancy phones I would own one myself. I have a simple, made for dummies phone and if I am lucky, I can actually call someone or pick up and scream “hello?” and hear a response. I consider that, for me, a success.
I’m old-fashioned; I like to talk to people in person. GASP! I know that is such a novel concept. My teenagers do not talk on the phone, they text on their own phones with dexterity and speed that only experienced surgeons have. I need to see someone’s expression, the look in their eyes, their body language to accurately assess something. Even writing online is perplexing since you miss the nuances, the emotions, the intonation.
Give me an a cup of Starbucks coffee and a friend across the table and that is how I communicate best. I need to feel, first hand, what my instinct is telling me. I need to listen but to listen effectively, I also need to see from my heart.