Friday, May 17, 2013

My new way to stay connected

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM

If you had asked me five years ago what my plans were for a gorgeous spring afternoon - like the ones we've been having lately - my answer would have undoubtedly involved a nice patio and a cold beer. But these days, with two young boys constantly running around, I enjoy the warm weather in a completely different way.

Whats beyond the screen?
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  • What's beyond the screen?

One of Luki's favorite things to do when it's nice out is walk down to our local fire station - or "the house where the fire truck sleeps" - and sit outside until there's an emergency. (Yes, I spend my free time stalking an emergency vehicle equipped with firefighting apparatus.) Few things make my son happier than the couple of seconds when the shiny red truck whizzes by, sirens blaring and lights flashing.

As we headed down to the fire station on a recent Saturday afternoon I realized that, in my haste to get us out the door - a task that involves searching each corner of our house for toddler sneakers and repeating at least a dozen times that no, we can't leave until you use the potty because I'm not taking you behind a tree right next to a law enforcement facility - I had left my iPhone at home.

Sitting on that bench outside the fire station without my phone made me realize just how much time I spend on it when I am with my children. I kept reaching inside my purse during lulls in my conversation with Luki only to find that it wasn't there. At one point, when my son discovered a caterpillar crawling up his arm, I innately felt around for my phone to take his picture before remembering, once again, that I didn't have it.

About an hour later, we headed back home and the first thing I did when I arrived was slide the small grey arrow across the black screen. I had no missed calls. No new emails. And the only new thing someone had posted to Facebook was a picture of a goat.

Why had I felt so uneasy, as if I was missing some tremendously important development without my phone when, in reality, everything that truly matters happens outside its small, rectangular frame?

I've been thinking a lot about that cell phone-less walk since it happened.

I can recall the exact expression on Luki's face when he discovered the caterpillar even though I couldn't take a picture of it. Actually, I think that I can recall it so well because I couldn't take a picture of it. It's funny. We take pictures to remember, but so often the photos I take with my phone get lost in my camera roll, only to be discovered randomly months or years later. I look at them and see a captured scene, but I don't remember anything about what they're portraying. They become images without context. Ironically, and although I didn't realize it at the time, not having a phone that day made me more connected to that particular moment.

So I've decided that I won't be forgetting my phone again the next time I go on a walk with my kids.

I'll be purposely leaving it behind.

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