The sound of Sherlock Holmes’ deep, throaty “I’ve got a text” is a welcome interruption throughout my day. There is a power in those four little words only I can relate to, a feeling I can’t quite describe.
Hearing those words makes me smile, makes me feel warm inside, whether I’m in the midst of grocery shopping or an endless pile of laundry. You see, that sound means my husband has sent me a text from across the ocean, and it is more than a notification. His words take flight, swirling across the miles, over hills and mountains, city lights and sun drenched beaches to a final destination that is my phone – but ultimately my heart.
When you spend five out of seven days with a large body of water between you, turning into 40-something year old texting teenagers, carrying your phone around like it’s attached to your hand, is inevitable.
When I read articles about how important it is to disconnect from our phones, to limit our children’s time on electronic devices, it makes me cringe because of what that would mean to my family. Disconnecting from these devices means disconnecting from each other. I realise the articles are meant to encourage “quality time” and “family time” but for us, our devices are what allow us to share these times even if it is in a non-traditional way.
Once upon a time, like most couples, our conversations were long, drawn out discussions about our future, world issues, hopes and dreams, as we gazed into each other’s eyes, holding hands on a lazy afternoon. Now, my husband is gone almost every week from Monday through Friday, leaving only weekends for both family time and time as a couple.
Today, we embrace every aspect of modern technology to keep the conversation going. It is our way of staying connected and my way of ensuring my husband still feels like part of our daily lives. Imagine feeling like you’re seeing your family through a fishbowl, wondering what the water is like, watching them laugh at inside jokes you don’t get because you’re always on the other side of the glass.
It’s not ideal, but social media keeps us connected when it’s simply impossible to be present.