I have a back and forth, up and down relationship with all the technology that keeps us “connected.” Perhaps most people do. I often wonder how different my childhood might have been with iPads, screens, and Facetime.
Facetime. My boys LoVe Facetime. If I get a grandparent on the other end of the connection, it is an absolute party in our home. Boys screaming, dancing, running this way and that, showing off toys, showing off karate moves, and then talking to the screen so close that they leave breath marks. All while I try to hold a smart phone or iPad in a place that might catch some of their antics.
I don’t even remember talking to my grandparents on the phone! I’m sure I did, but I do remember physically seeing them and having so many things to tell them over an extended visit because, of course, they wanted to know every detail since they last saw me!
When we said good-bye, we said good-bye. (For real, until the next time I SEE you.) Same with friends in the summer, unless we – or our parents – arranged play dates and slumber parties. My social outings most summers consisted of bike rides up and down the streets of my neighborhood, with those special friends who lived so close.
It wasn’t until that long-awaited first day of school that I saw the many other friends with whom I was growing up. Not so for our children.
This past summer, my four-year-old son had the glorious opportunity to Facetime his best friend from pre-school. Oh the joy on these boys’ faces! Both using iPads, they giggled at the sight of each other, and took the iPads up and down the hallways of their homes showing off their rooms and their coolest toys. Even siblings got in on the action, and the dogs were introduced.
These boys were probably five miles apart but together on screen, and this proved to be a play date on its own, which, of course, still required some mommy monitoring. When I wasn’t chasing down our crawling infant, I would walk back into my son’s room to find his best friend staring at our ceiling fan, while my son gabbed away about his new Blaze truck. Or worse, the friend was seeing a black screen, as my son had left our iPad facedown on the carpet.
It was all such a spectacle. The screen would sometimes be propped on pillows, providing the perfect setting for show and tell, or for our friend to watch my sons wrestle. Such entertainment.
I am thankful real, live play dates took place over the summer, yes. But really, this Facetime thing for our kids is quite something. I can just imagine where it will go from here.