As I've mentioned before, I'm actually a huge fan of texting.
I'm aware there are drawbacks and reasons to be concerned where teens and texting are concerned, but so far, in our household, texting has only improved our communication. No doubt that it is not improving certain members of the family's spelling or grammar, but it is a very efficient mode of communication.
Recently, I had an older parent lamenting to me about all these newfangled gadgets while screeching the usual obviously-I'm-over-50 rant, "What did we used to do before cell phones?!? I mean, we survived!'
Of course we did. And people survived without seatbelts and fluoride toothpaste too, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't embrace innovation and change- especially when it is to our benefit (or makes our lives remarkably safer). I know that there were many times as a teenager I could have really used a cell phone, and while clearly I survived those incidents that doesn't mean that I can't be grateful my own children won't be left quite so vulnerable should a similar situation arise.
I'm not going to go into all the cautionary tales of how dangerous texting can be for kids. Don't we all know that by now? We had our own very minor foray into inappropriate texting with one of our boys (I won't say who and I emphasize the word minor, don't let your imagination run away with you) and so we are well versed on the need to set up safeguards and boundaries and how to deliver a lecture about how these-things-will-stay-with-you-for-the-rest-of-your-life that is sure to make your child believe that hidden cameras lurk on every street corner. I get it.
But my experience has been that, at least with boys, or, at least with my boys, once we got them through those tricky pre-teen, experimental years, they lost interest in using their phones for anything other than completely utilitarian purposes. Are you going? Ya. What time? Where? K.
The other night I had reason to heart texting yet again.
Jack and I had been texting back and forth regarding his whereabouts and whether or not he was going to come home that evening or opt to spend the night at his best friend R's house. I was fine either way but I reminded him that if he was planning to come home he needed to remember his curfew and leave with enough time that he would be home on time. He assured me he would and said he would let me know if he decided to stay at R's house.
You know those really good moms who will tell you that they can't possibly fall asleep until their child has safely arrived at home? I thought I was one of those moms. I have now been kicked out of the Good Moms Who Wait Up For the Teenagers Club. I could have possibly managed to avoid such a stern penalty if my offense hadn't been documented in a string of text messages. See, texting really can get you into trouble.
Confident that Jack would let me know if he decided to stay at his friend's house, I took my phone with me as I got ready for bed. I placed it on the nightstand next to me but when I could see that Superdad was already falling asleep I decided it would be rude for me to leave the light on and read, so I turned it off and decided to just enjoy some quiet time, resting, while I waited to hear from Jack.
I'm sure you can see where this is going...
At about 12:20am I jerked awake, looked at the clock, and when I saw the time I felt that familiar mom-feeling where your heart starts beating faster and your stomach is instantly in knots. It's the I-don't-know-where-my-child-is feeling.
I grabbed my cell phone certain I would see a text from Jack (that I had somehow missed while I was "resting"). No text.
At this point my feet hit the floor and I started texting in the dark of night, praying for a speedy response from my son.
Me: Hey there. I didn't hear from you. Did you stay at R's?
Then, the longest 30 seconds of my life went slooooowly by (cue Jeopardy music)...
Jack: What? I'm at home. I said goodnight to you.
Me: You're home? In your room?
Jack: Yep. Would you like to stroll down the hallway and see for yourself?
Me: And did I say goodnight back to you?
Jack: Yes mother. Good night. Again.
At which point I fully emerged from my sleepy stupor, realized the hilarity of texting my son while he was 10 steps down the hallway, in his own bedroom, after midnight- and started laughing hysterically.
A half-asleep Superdad mumbled, What are you doing??
I asked him, Did you know Jack was home?
He murmured into his pillow, Of course I did. What kind of parent do you think I am? He came in and said goodnight.
Which only made me laugh harder.
But I still love texting.