I’ll admit it, I’ve never liked change. I like being in my comfort zone, where I know the way things are going to play out. Having those I love grow up and live their own lives makes me feel pretty lonely. My grandkids are all grown up now, and busily working and going to school, and I don’t get to see as much of them, because they have things to do…their own lives to live. It’s easy for them to think, “I’ll go see Grandma tomorrow…or the next day.” But then something comes up and they are off in another direction again. It’s not that they never come to see me, it’s just that life has them running here and there, and the time they get to spend with me is far more limited than it used to be. That is change…having your kids and grandkids grow up and start their own lives. I don’t like it much. No, the kids and grandkids aren’t ignoring me, and seeing less of them isn’t something they are doing intentionally. They aren’t mad at me…just busy.
I remember when my girls were little. They would come home from school, and we would be together as a family. Oh sure, we didn’t spend every moment that they were home together. They went outside to play, or played in their rooms, or went to a friend’s house, and maybe I took those moments for granted…like we all do, but I cherished those moments, nevertheless. Family has always been important to me, and I don’t like to have those close days end. And yet, it is inevitable…for every family. We go from seeing our parents every day to seeing them once a week, and sometimes longer than that. Kids head off to college and the relationship changes to one of calling, texting, Facebook, and Skype…and we are thankful for those things, because that old long distance calling was expensive and you couldn’t do that several times a day.
Life gets that way for everyone at some point. We all have our own schedules and responsibilities. I remember my dad saying something similar to me. In fact, what he said was, “You need to come over hand have lunch with us once a week, so we can see you!” Dad never was one to mince words exactly. If you needed to do something, you just needed to do it, and he didn’t mind telling you about it. It wasn’t that he was mad at us, because he wasn’t. He just wanted us to know that he loved his family and wanted to be around them. He knew we were busy, as we all worked, but he decided that we could take one lunch hour to spend with our parents…and he was right. I mean, we had to eat anyway. It has worked well for us, and even though Dad is in Heaven now, we still have lunch with Mom once a week, and I have dinner once a week too. It’s just important to do these things to stay close. And after all, wasn’t that what Dad was after anyway…being able to stay close to his family. We must cherish those moments, because all too soon, they are gone.
As I was sending out a text today, I began to think about the changes in communication we have had through the years. In the very early years of our nation’s history, when a child married and decided to move West, it sometimes meant that family members never heard from each other again, and if they did, it was hit and miss. I’m sure that there were many broken hearted parents as a result of those moves, and I am equally certain that those moves brought about the changes in communication that we see today.
First, of course came the Pony Express, which while it greatly improved things, was still pretty slow, and news of family members passing or giving birth arrived quite some time after the fact. Not that anyone would have been able make it back in time, but it would be hard to find out after it is all over. The invention of the telephone greatly improved communication, and I’m sure people found it comforting to be able to hear the voice of their loved ones once again.
Today, with so many forms of communications, as well as ease of travel, we are able to see loved ones so often that we, maybe take it for granted. Even if you can’t be with family members, you can Skype, Video Chat, and Face Time, so not only can you hear their voice, but you can see their face, in real time.
Our modern communication abilities have maybe spoiled us to a degree. We have so many ways to talk and travel, and yet, I don’t know about you, but one of the main ways we communicate…texting, is probably the least personal. It seems like in our busy world, it is easier to text and then wait for the answer, than to talk on the phone. The main reason for this is that you have to hold the phone to talk, so unless it is a long conversation, or one that should be held in a more personal way, we choose the more impersonal…texting. Many people think we text too, as a way of not being too social, and maybe that is so. It seems like we are becoming more of a solitary people in some ways. Still, texting, like the Pony Express, the postal service, the telegraph, telephone, computer, and cell phone are all ways of keeping in touch.