So often the words in my house are said to the backdrop of the sounds of my phone buzzing on the table. “I think you got another text,” says my 3 1/2 year old daughter in her matter of fact tone. Her twin brother is not as impressed. “Ugh! Why are you always texting?!?!” (stomp stomp stomp).
He’s right. It seems like I text a lot. Because, well, I do.
I text for parenting business: to set up play dates, to schedule dentist appointments, to figure out snack duty with my play group co-coordinator, to see who will be at the playground/trampoline place/arts center that morning, and to check in with my son’s preschool to see if he ever stopped crying after morning drop-off.
I text to maintain the familial ties with close friends I can’t see as often as I’d like-even those who live two towns over. I text them about NPR podcasts, their new babies, their precocious preschoolers, what they made for dinner, and just to say I miss you and I love you.
I text for commradery. One text chain in particulate is dedicated to women who really get my life. We share stories-ups (e.g. “All the kids are in bed before 8:00! Can’t wait to go to sleep before 9:30!”), and downs (e.g. “Logan took his pants off at playgroup-AGAIN. Jackson threw his dinner at me because I cut rectangles instead of triangles. When can we go out for some wine?”). The replies assure me I am not alone.
I text my mom to ask for prayers when my friends and their families need them. I text my siblings and siblings in-law funny pictures of my children dressed up like an Elton John cover band. I text my Dad to ask how to waterproof my basement and to let him know I’m thinking of him today.
I text my husband when I know he won’t have time for a lunchtime phone call. I text him funny things the kids said, or an old Adam Sandler or Steve Carrell quote that we have made our personal inside joke. I text him household issues that I know I’ll forget about after the dreaded witching hour. I text him those little emojis that he hates because I know he secretly kind of likes them.
I text to be connected. I text for moral support. I text for laughter. And I don’t feel bad about it, either.
As someone who is recently owning up to the introverted side of herself, I have to say that texting helps me. I can text in silence, cutting down on noise pollution. I don’t typically need to respond to a text immediately, and it’s an unspoken understanding that behavior is okay. I can think about my response before I type it out, which
often sometimes cuts down on me feeling like said/wrote something stupid.
Still, I get it. My son’s complaints are not lost on me. Some of my earliest memories are of wrapping myself in the curly phone cord whining to my mother to get off of the phone. But I also remember my mother hanging up the phone when she was finished, and playing barbies with me, coloring, making cookies, and carting me to swimming/girl scouts/soccer/friend’s houses. So I get that part, too.
I know I text a lot. But, I play a lot, hug a lot, and love a lot, too. Sounds like a good balance to me.