I came a little late to the cellphone game. Well, sort of. When I was in college, my parents bought me one of those big car phones in the black zippered bag. I thought it was awesomely amazing technology. It was only for use in emergencies because each call cost fourteen dollars or something like that. I think I used it three times: once to call the police when another driver was scaring me, once when I had an accident, and once when my car broke down.
After college, I married Chad and moved to Nashville. Living on a private school teacher’s and a starving artist’s salary, cell phones weren’t an option, even if they had been on our radar.
So, I didn’t get a cell phone until the year after Chad started law school. We were still starving (so to speak), but we were leaving to live in Washington D.C. for a couple of months and my mother couldn’t bear the thought of us going with no phones. So, she bought us some. Our phones did one thing–phone calls.
A few years later I got a Blackberry. Whoa, Mama. The internet was literally in my pocket. All the information I could ask for, at my fingertips. Communication with long lost friends suddenly skyrocketed thanks to Facebook, email sent directly to my phone, and texting. It was awesome.
Finally I got a touchscreen smart phone that does everything except make my toast in the morning. It’s an amazing piece of technology. I don’t need a GPS anymore. I don’t need a TV. I don’t need a computer. Why carry around a camera, video or otherwise? We even got rid of our home phone. I love my smart phone.
But, I’m about to get rid of it.
I’m giving up my phone because I keep catching myself having to ask my kids to repeat what they just said to me. Because I realize after several moments that one of them is trying to tell me a story. Because even while Sawyer is asking me to watch his latest dance move, I am engrossed in something a stranger wrote online. Because Adelade automatically brings me my phone if she finds it in another room, knowing how often I look at it. Because I have glanced down at Emerald while reading Facebook to see her smiling up at me, just waiting for me to pay attention to her.
I’ve thought that I would do better. I’ve tried. Apparently, the pull of the outside world is just too much for me. I don’t really need to know this instant where the oldest tree in North America is. I can wait to learn who has posted Facebook drama today. When my children are standing right in front of me, changing every day, wanting me, needing me, and I’m giving them a half-hearted effort because of a silly piece of technology that I can do without.
I’m really looking forward to the liberation.
Sawyer grew an inch and a half this summer. Adelade is into carrying purses now. Emerald has figured out how to pull my glasses off my face. I want to be 100% present for all of it. I’m going to slow down, push the world out of my relationship with my kids, and go back to good old talk and text. I’m pretty sure my family will be better for it, and if it’s nightfall before I learn whose relationship status changed, I think I can live with that.