Everyday Connor comes up with a new thing to holler at naptime. Today his random, bitter tirade is “I want my momma to give me a sticker!!”
Anyway, while Zeke plays outside, Amelia sweetly slumbers, and Connor howls himself to sleep, I would like to share a sort of meandering stream of consciousness that is now marching toward resolve.
This post is not meant to make anyone feel guilty, but to reveal the ugliness that I have allowed to gently creep into my world. My husband and I were among the last, the dying breed of non-smartphone users. We had basic cell phones. We hardly ever texted, unless we wanted to spend an hour tapping out a text message.
Here is an example of a real text message situation BI (Before iphone): One of my friend’s who had an iphone texted me“What do the letters stand for in the band that has that song in that movie with Molly Ringwald that you used to watch all the time?” By the time I had pressed send in my hard labored reply of, “I think OMD stands for Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark and the movie was Pretty in Pink” the recipient had already asked 4 other people, bought Pretty in Pink for $1 on Amazon and was downloading the song from itunes.
So when we were given iphones, the firefighter and I were completely overwhelmed at all they could do, if only our clumsy fingers were willing to train hard. Texting was a breeze and we could take billions of pics of our kiddos and share them so easily. Our family is spread so far and wide that this became such a precious gift to share our lives with each other. That seemed an innocuous and lofty enough purpose.
Then I downloaded the Facebook and Instagram apps. Now I was able to share pictures and snarky comments any time I wanted with everyone I hardly know. And I have. I have shared and shared and overshared to the point that I think I may have made our family portrait a caricature, cartoony and hardly recognizable. We have far more depth and complexities than what I would share with people I hardly know, yet I am sharing CONSTANTLY little bits and pieces of our lives.
So that has been gently convicting (though it should have been blaringly so).
Here is what finally got me. The other day I was sitting outside holding Amelia while the boys played. Such a sweet scene, right? No. It should have been. I should have been drinking up that moment. Enjoying the perfect weather, snuggling my baby girl, while watching my adorable boys playing. What I was doing was holding the phone out of Amelia’s reach with my eyes glued to the screen as it played a Youtube video demonstrating a toy I was thinking about getting the kids for Christmas.
That’s not soooooo bad, right?
Except, Zeke called to me, “Mom, hey Mom. Mom! MOM!!!! Watch!!!”
To which I snapped, “What Zeke? Can’t you see I’m busy?!?”
Busy? Busy doing what? Busy ignoring my precious oldest child playing with a loved toy right in front of me because I was too busy watching a video of some stranger’s kid playing with a toy?
This is even more ridiculously disgusting when I think about the times that I have ended a phone call to interact with a stranger. I am never on the phone when I checkout at the grocery store or when I go to Sonic. No way! I don’t want to be one of those rude customers!
Well, guess what Miss High and Mighty? You have become a rude mom.
I am caring too much about the trappings of the world. The enviable and unnecessary things. My focus, too often, has fallen from these sweet blessings right in front of me and instead been given to the fading beauty of silly things. I was not created to worship tinsel, and I am setting a poor example for the little eyes that are constantly watching me. I could share a thousand pictures and never come close to capturing the beauty of our family. You could never know the prayers, struggles, strength, laughter and tears that have brought us to any one moment. And no matter how many pictures I take or filters I test on Instagram, I will always feel like I am not beautiful or good enough and that every lack of “like” tells me it’s true. But I wouldn’t feel this way if I hadn’t invited these things to follow me constantly. If my focus was on the real, the tangible.
So, no more. I have deleted these apps from my phone and I resolve to check Facebook only when it does not interfere with time I could be spending with the people who are right in front of me. Those who know me, feel free to ask me how it’s going. In fact, I beg of you. Keep me accountable.
P.S. Don’t worry, my next post will be much less heavy. Seriously. I have had to give up ALL DAIRY.