In my next life, I want to come back as a smart phone. I may be a 40-ish, over worked, under-appreciated, slightly burnt out spouse and mother of teen boys, but that doesn't mean I don't remember the good stuff. It wasn't that long ago that each day ended with story time and kisses goodnight, and mornings included blaring alarms, screaming babies, fighting teenagers, or the wandering hands of my passionate husband.
It seems like only yesterday, I was being inundated with millions of questions about everything and anything from my bright-eyed, curious toddlers... Mom, how does the car go? Mom, how do the baby chicks breathe in the eggs? Mom, can we watch a movie? Mom, can you read to me?
I recall the days when my girlfriends would call me up to make plans for a "girls night" or simply stop in for coffee, so we could catch up on the latest gossip and life... I remember scheduling play dates and sleepovers, and the seemingly endless ﬂow of kiddos swarming around the open fridge hunting for snacks before they headed back out to play.
Back "then", there were board games and card games at the dinner table, and talking with our mouths full. Hearing dad come home from work meant playing outside, science projects in the kitchen, friends by the ﬁre pit and cuddling in front of the TV.
But all that changed when we started our relationships with our devices.
Today, we live "Life by smartphone" and it's literally sucking the connection out of all of us.
These days, instead of falling asleep to pillow talk and being awakened by wandering hands, it's dozing off to the gentle glow of the ipad screen and being awakened by the bling, bling" of a text message followed by the clicking and tapping of ﬁngers typing out a reply.
My teens no longer need to seek my counsel for their endless questions, because everything they could ever need to know is more easily answered by eHow or Google, than waiting for mom's long, thought out anecdotal replies.
My Girlfriends don't do "girls night out" or pop in anymore... those dates have been replaced with the much more convenient Google hang out... where no one has to worry about dividing up the check or getting dressed and everyone can multi-task as necessary.
My kids don't bring buddies home at lunchtime or plan sleepovers, because they never need to leave the house in the ﬁrst place. If they do, it's way easier to text an invite than come <em>all the way</em> home to ask.
We don't play games at the dinner table anymore... the kids might lose their points on the latest video game or we might miss a comment or "like" on a thread. It's way more fun to post pictures of dinner than talk over it. Besides, who would hear you when everyone is wearing earbuds?
There is no more "leaving work at the door". If we aren't on the phone when we walk through the door, there is always an email to answer, a text to reply too, a ﬁre to put out or a quote that needs to get done by tomorrow's meeting. Work is now 24/7... and the reasons are simple: "My paycheck pays for your cell phone and internet!" and we all know where the priorities now lie.
Our phones have become our lovers, our mentors, our office assistants and our best friends. They have replaced all that once kept families connected, devoted and happy... they have become the envy of every parent who longs to be fondled by their spouse like a touch screen, focused on like Facebook or admired like Google.
We pine for the chance to see a sparkle in our child's eyes that isn't the glare of blue light...to be a greater source of laughter than YouTube or to literally experience that hot new restaurant down the street with our friends, instead of just giving a virtual thumbs up to a "pin" or check in.
Yes, I remember a time when I was younger and happier and, dare I say it, more "connected" to my family. A time before smartphones and social networks. A time when connecting meant being connected. But I fear that those days are long passed and will only continue to become increasingly technology focused.
Today, as I see it, I have only two choices since I will never be able to get back to the good ole days; I can either move "off the grid" and up to the mountains where there is no wi-ﬁ, electric or cell reception, or I can accept the modern world in which I live and what my life has become as a result and just put on my Big Momma panties and deal with it.
...Or I suppose I could get really lucky and in my next life, be reincarnated as a smart phone.