Just the other day I got an evite to my niece's birthday party. My family is funny that way. We send each other evites even when we know the other won't be able to attend. There is a lot of land and ocean between Texas and Hawai'i! But it keeps us connected. We see what is going on and how the kids are celebrating milestones in their lives.
Yesterday I texted my sister to see what the girls' are desiring for their birthdays. Yes, the evite was for one but the other niece's birthday is just around the corner. 9, 10, 11....1, 2, 3 birthdays. My Mom's is the 11th but I am digressing. Birthday presents. My sister texts back the kiddos have wish lists at Toys-R-Us. Oh the simplicity of life! I can just hop online, see what they want, and have the store mail it to them. Sweet! Life is great! Now I just need to figure out what to get Mom. Technology may not help me out of that puzzle but so far, it is making my life easier and bringing my family closer to me.
I hear so many stories about how bad technology is in terms of too many games, too much texting, not enough family connection, not enough exercise, blah, blah, blah. Don't get me wrong. I firmly believe in exercise and not getting sucked into games. I have some apps to keep me on track and focused on my training. I run with a GPS or Nike+ sensor. I listen to tunes on my iPhone. That is all technology enhancing aspects of my life. And yes, I am introducing darling daughter to the sweet wonders of the technological world....and so is her school with computer labs.
But is this enriching our time together? Absolutely! Life is what you make out of it. You get out of a run what you put into it. You get out of technology what you put into it. I am not just sitting darling daughter down at a computer or handing her my phone and walking off. I am there. We are talking. We are engaged. We are sharing. She has tons of apps - some educational, some fun - that she can turn to when she is just plain tired of being in the car. Those "long" car trips on Maui are exhausting. Okay, they pale in comparison to mainland driving but it is all relative.
But we also play together. Our current favorite is Hay Day. We may play together 10-15 minutes a day. Sometimes she checks in by herself. Sometimes I do. We always talk about what we are doing. We develop our plan. We work to our farm goals. And in all reality, I love the lesson of having to save up your coins to invest in machinery, animals, decorations, etc. for your farm. Having to plan what you plant, harvest, make, etc. to fill your orders. When to ask for help. When to do it yourself. It is a lot like life and we are having fun together. And we bring it into our conversation as we drive by sugar cane in the real world.
But technology isn't just games. It goes deeper. Every school day darling daughter calls my cell phone from dear hubby's cell phone. Yep, there was a time when this wouldn't be possible but it is. It is something we started over a year ago when going to preschool was hard and she missed her Mommy. Now going to school isn't as hard but we still have our morning chats. It is nice. It is a tradition. It brings us closer together. I will always cherish these moments and hopefully she will too.
There is also a safety element. It is nice to know that your child is safe at school and drop off was a success. Dear hubby always texts me the "all good" or rarely "rough morning" but I know darling daughter is set and ready to go. My husband isn't the biggest texter and he doesn't have a smart phone so I will give him texting is hard as a great reason. But 99% of the time he will text again when he is on his way home from work. That "heading out" text is always nice to see and I have a gut feeling he has no idea how happy it makes me to see it. And yes, I will text him random "how are you?", "thinking of you", "love you" texts. What can I say? It makes me feel closer to him.
But it isn't just my immediate household connecting through technology. It is the ability to take a quick picture and send it to my mom, my sisters, my aunt, darling daughter's stepbrothers, etc. saying - look what we are up to! It takes just an added moment to text a photo but that moment can make a big difference in building/securing family bonds.
Technology goes beyond my smart phone though. I am a technology loving Mom. You know my social media sites for my blog but I have a personal facebook page for my family and closest friends. I also have a Shutterfly site for my closest family where I share even more photos and a calendar of events - and yes, all our races are on the calender. Some family members check in more often. Some less. But that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I am keeping those communication channels open and reaching out and that makes a huge difference when your little piece of the big family is living on a little island in the middle of the Pacific.
Now it's your chance! Tell me how technology connects your family?
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the technology that enriches my life.
Daily Affirmation: I am a loving mom.