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Text Your Children Well

texting

I came late to texting. I resisted getting a smartphone for the longest time, knowing that once I did I would never escape work again (which was true). Although I love my smartphone, I do sometimes miss the days when I was physically capable of walking away from my work email account.

Even when I finally stepped on the smartphone train, I continued to abstain from the world of texting. I didn’t see the need for communication that a phone call or an email couldn’t fill.

And then my daughter went to college. Let me tell you, I am now the biggest fan of texting you’ve ever met. I’ll tell random people how great it is that I can have a quick, non-intrusive conversation with my daughter any time I want.

And she’ll write me back and share all sorts of details about her life… with me! Her mom!

I text her all the time. I text to see how her classes went, to make sure that she’s actually eating real food in the dining hall, and to live vicariously by hearing about her plans for a Saturday night.

I check that she’s made it safely home after her late class, share with her a funny story from my day, and make plans to drive down and take her out to lunch on a weekend. All with the click of a few keys, knowing that she’ll check when she’s free and respond when she can.

Even better, she texts me! This quiet teenager who was never terribly forthcoming with her daily activities has suddenly opened up to me through that tiny keyboard.

She texts to tell me when she gets a great grade on a test, to complain when it is -10 degrees and windy (and tell me that she’s going South for graduate school), and to inform me that she needs a better pair of warm boots.

This new line of communication with my child, established just as she left the nest, has been nothing less than miraculous.

When I went off to college, that was pretty much it for regular communication with my parents. A couple of times a month I would call home and chat for a maybe a half an hour (back then, long distance phone time was still real money). This allowed for only top level exchanges of the “Yes, I’m doing fine,” “No, I’m not failing any classes,” and “Please send money” sort.

My dad also religiously saved the Sunday comics for me and would send them off in an envelope monthly. I still have fond memories of the mail days when that manila envelope would appear in my box along with a sweet note from him. But other than that, communication was pretty much shut down outside of Christmas break and summer vacation. Letters were too onerous to fit into my busy life and email didn’t even exist yet (yes, I’m that old).

So I am very thankful for Matti Makkonen, whom Google informs me invented texting way back in 1992. Matti, you have changed my life and deepened my relationship with my daughter just as she is growing up and moving away.

What an incredible gift.

 

Cassandra has somehow found herself working as a data analyst despite her love of words and deep mistrust of all things numeric (and an inability to add multi-digit numbers with any degree of accuracy). Now she blogs to stay sane.

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Comments (8)

  1. MOM2Three

    Isn’t it surprising when social media actually brings you closer as a family, rather than separating you from your children? I bet Matti Makkonen would be proud.

    Reply
  2. Jenny Kanevsky

    I love this post. My tween just got a smartphone and he texts me all the time. It’s adorable and I love it. The other day, I texted him “haven’t hung out just the two of us lately. want to soon?” reply: “totes magotes!” Or he’ll just be in his room and text me from there. “love u mom,” or send a picture of his kitten. It’s the way they communicate and it’s so sweet. I love this post. I love anything that keeps us connected to our kids and makes them want to share with us, not feel like they HAVE to. So great job, Mom.

    Reply
  3. Cassandra

    Texting with my daughter truly has been a revelation. I can’t wait until my son (now 11) gets into it too!

    Reply
  4. One Funny Motha

    I too did not get a cell phone until I was nearly 30. I’m always late to the party.

    You mean your daughter actually communicates w/ u? That’s amazing. You’ve cracked the code. I’m gonna take a page from your book & start texting my daughter (13) who’s in the next room. I think this is the answer I’ve been looking for!

    Reply
    • Cassandra

      She does! It’s a beautiful thing, I tell you.

  5. Susan Maccarelli

    Very sweet! Texting definitely has its place. What drives me nuts is a family of 4 sitting at a restaurant table all texting instead of talking ugh! But I love the idea of using it to keep up with people throughout the day that you may not want to call 10 times, but 10 texts are a breeze. Loved it!

    Reply
  6. Do Try This At Home

    Oh yeah texting changed the whole ballgame with communication between my and my 19 year old. My son still just sends me texts like this though:

    ?

    That’s the whole text. And now of course…there’s snapchat.

    Reply