Recently, I dug up some of letters I wrote to my parents while I was Eurailing around Europe. I feel bad for my parents, waiting 10 days for a letter to reach them via “air mail, ” assuming I remembered to write, stamp and mail it. I don’t think my kids have ever written me a letter–I just get texts.
I admit that there’s a definite trade-off. My letters were long and newsy. Texts are short. Still, I’m grateful for the immediacy of text messaging, especially with teenage drivers in the household.
For example, my son’s text to me last week informing me of this safe arrival in West Virginia for his week long mission trip.
“We got here.” (Actually, there was no period. I couldn’t bring myself to leave it off. )
When I inquired, per text, “What is it like there?”, I received one extra word: “Nice.” That was it for four days—four words. My friends point out that any expectation of more was just ridiculous.
Maybe “nice” leaves a lot to my imagination, but I knew he was safe.
Caveat: Immediacy of communication doesn’t mean you’re getting the truth.
On the last day of his trip, I texted my son: “Did you have fun white-water rafting today?”
He answered: “It was OK.”
It turns out “It was OK” is code for “we flipped over right before a two section five rapids and I really thought I was going to die and was shaken up, but I didn’t die, so it’s ok. I’ll just never go white water rafting again.”
Whatever the medium, kids are only going to tell us what they thing we’re capable of hearing without freaking out.
I’ll take what I can get.
© Laura Hedgecock 2013