Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wake-up Call

On Sunday morning I found myself zipping around my house like a ferret on steroids, stuffing my son into a jacket and tie, sticking Mary Janes on my daughter and repeating out loud "Do not forget the christening gifts!" After my umpteenth shrieking request, my husband sauntered out to the driveway and shepherded the kids into the car as I chugged a glass of water, grabbed a lipstick to apply in the car and thankfully, I did not forget the gifts.

But I did forget my cell phone.

I realized this as we were halfway to the church, determined to be on time to dress my godson in his christening finery.  I was alarmed to be without my phone all day.  How would I take pictures at the baptism?  How would I send and return text messages? How would I update my Facebook status with adorable pictures of my niece and nephew?  Way too late it occurred to me, "What if I need to make a phone call?"   I felt as though one of my limbs had fallen off. It was like watching any of the NJ Housewives give an interview...I was in a constant state of bewilderment.

It turned out, being without my phone was pretty awesome. 

It turns out that on any given Sunday, my cell phone is way less necessary than I thought.


I didn't have to remember to set it to silent before church began.

Pictures?  My sister, mother of the twins, took oodles of pictures all day and posted them to Facebook that evening.  And I actually got to be in the pictures for once instead of behind the camera.

During the lunch at Char Steakhouse that followed the baptism, I was fully present for the first time, I have to admit, in a long time.  I truly didn't realize how often I dip my hand into my purse to check my phone. And for what? I wasn't expecting an important business call or anything.  Why shouldn't I be completely focused on socializing and eating the vegetarian option on the menu whilst sipping wine with my family?  I didn't realize how much of a slave I am to my phone until I left it at home and realized the sweet freedom and liberation in not having it.

Sure it was mildly bumming when I went to take a picture of my sides to put on Facebook and I realized I was sans phone. However, who's really being hurt by not getting to see my photos of creamed spinach and fluffy mashed potatoes?  Victimless crime.

When I did return to my phone, more than 8 hours after I left it, I had ten missed texts and 3 missed calls.  A couple of play date requests for the upcoming week. A photo of new shoes from a gal pal. A question from a Sunday School parent. A friend had dropped some wine in our mailbox and wanted to inform us it was there. Nothing was critical.  There was nothing that couldn't wait.

When I ended up taking my kids to the park a bit later for some early evening sunshine I intentionally left my phone in the car. It felt good. I felt bad I had missed another parent's calls about directions to the park, but it wasn't Earth shattering. We didn't end up meeting up with them, but we would next week. No biggie.

I shut my phone off completely that night, determined to watch Mad Men Sunday night without its addictive presence.

I am not saying that I want to get rid of my phone of even turn it off all day.  I'm not insane.  My phone is my alarm...if I hadn't turned it back on Sunday night I would have never been awakened for my terrible Monday morning wog (walk/jog).  My phone is my camera. My growing kids aren't going to photograph themselves. My phone holds my calendar of where my family is supposed to be at any given time. My phone is a huge convenience (directions, anyone?), I love texting my friends and it's fun to read articles/ put pictures of baked goods on Facebook. 

But every Sunday, maybe I'll just turn it off all day.  Every night at 8 pm, maybe I'll put my phone to sleep along with the kids for a few hours. Maybe I'll bar my phone from the beach this summer.
 It's very whiny, my phone. Always beeping. Always pinging. Always demanding my attention. And the truth it, when I pay attention to my phone, I'm usually ignoring everyone around me.

So I think I'll be without my phone more often.  It's hard to explain why, but taking long chunks of time away from my phone just plain feels good to me these days. 

It's a bit of a wake-up call to realize how marvelous it feels to be away from something I love so much but I guess distance makes the heart grow fonder.  Ringing off now.

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