When I was around eighteen-years-old, I bought a book that inspired me. It was focused on a young woman’s love for herself (mind, body, and soul). As I prepared to leave my parents’ home and move into my first apartment, one chapter really set with me. It was a note on “10 Things to Do When You Leave Home.”
#3 on the list was “Call Home.”
When I left home, that was very easy to do. I called my mom every time I had a cooking question and my dad every time I had car trouble. Many years later, I moved thousands of miles away from my “home” to start a new home with my husband. My family and I ended up being three time zones apart. I found myself calling my parents during my five-mile commute that took an hour during rush hour.
Years later, we moved back south to Chattanooga. Now, we just have one time zone difference between us, but I also have a child. Between work, household chores, errands, toddler tantrums, and whatever else life throws at us, it has been difficult to keep up calling home on a regular basis. It’s hard to fit time in and there’s just nothing left to give at the end of the day.
As parents, we give, give, and give. At the end of the day, I’m tired. Some days, I’m exhausted — I don’t want to talk or even be touched. I just want to eat my snacks and watch my shows.
On those days, I don’t call. I text and I send memes. My parents have graciously learned to keep up with technology. My dad has grown from referencing “texting” as e-mails to sending memes. We also have an ever so wonderful, but hilariously annoying family group text. We send pictures, random thoughts, encouragement, and even prayer requests throughout our day.
While the art of calling home may be fizzling, advances in technology (there are over a million apps to prove it) have made communication easier with our complex schedules, which is great! But it also has its drawbacks like when a simple text suffices for communication or when it’s easy to forget about those who don’t text or use Facebook. You know, parents and grandparents, those empty nesters…who are having a hard time adjusting to their life of loneliness, quiet homes, and less busy schedules.
While technology is constantly changing and generations are struggling to keep up, I hope we don’t loose the desire to pick up the phone and connect with our loved ones who don’t use social media or text — it’s important to feel the connection through the warmth of their voice. I am grateful that a phone call allows me to hear my grandfather’s laugh or an ache in the voice of a friend who needs encouraging.
But let’s face it; for a lot of us, talking on the phone gives us the heebie-jeebies. So, that’s where you can make reaching out a family responsibility. Call together as a group to say, “Hey!,” draw pictures or write letters, drop by cookies, or send a quick video of your kids saying, “Hi!” Simple gestures can really make someone’s day or week.
Whether you live five miles or 5,000 miles away, staying connected with family isn’t the easiest task. However, I hope to always want to make it a priority. I want my children to take note that I call my parents, visit my family, send them mail, etc. because we love them and to teach them those actions speak love. Kids remember how we interact with one another, which impacts how they will interact with their loved ones.
I’m very thankful that I can video chat with my sister to actually see her “lol” than read it via text or that I can text a mom friend a funny meme because that’s how we connect in the day in the life (DITL) of motherhood and release stress.