One of the many lessons I am learning is that time flies by more rapidly than I could have ever imagined. My kids are growing at a rate that leaves me breathless in both awe and sorrow. No one ever told me how bittersweet it is to be a mother! I find myself trying to cling onto these momentary seasons. I want to miss as little as possible because this passage of time, once lived, is gone forever.
Taking pictures of the kids is a big priority for me in this ongoing attempt to hold onto time. Technology has shaped my drive to take pictures into quite the obsession! Since our first year of marriage, I have made picture books of each year on Shutterfly.
It’s funny because the first few years worth of picture books are very slim. When Eric and I married, we each had a Motorola V3 Razor Phone. Mine was hot pink. We were SO hip – ha! Even though it was a camera phone, I do not recall ever having any of the few pictures I took with it printed.
About eight months into our marriage we discovered that we were expecting our first baby (talk about a God-ordained change of plans)! With a baby on the way, we decided it was time to purchase our first digital camera. Once our first son was born, the number of pictures taken per day per month rose dramatically. Our photo books grow thicker by the year! As our family grew and technology advanced, I have come become prone to always keeping my camera phone close.
Here is where I have found myself in a bit of a fix, though. Phones today are capable of more than I would have imagined six years ago. With the touch of a fingertip, they give access to just about anything. I can’t say that I’m usually one to surf the web from my phone, but what I do like is to check and update Facebook from it.
Now, I’d love to give you a speech about how I don’t really care for Facebook and make myself sound less pathetic. There are pros and cons to social media, but I find it to be helpful in keeping up with the family and friends Eric and I have that live far. The trouble is that Facebook has been too accessible for me. You know what they say, sometimes too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.
Each morning brings a new day which, eventually, bring about new seasons of life. The older I become, the more undeniable it is that life truly is like a mist that quickly vanishes (James 4:14). Am I being wise with my time? I recently began to consider deleting Facebook from my always-on-hand phone but resisted the idea at first. After all, I didn’t want to miss anything. That’s when it hit me: Was I so “connected” that I was actually disconnected to the people that I love and live life with every day?
There was only one way to find out. I deleted Facebook (somewhat begrudgingly) from my phone one evening. Do you want to know what I learned about myself during the following 48 hours? I have a mindless habit of checking Facebook FAR more often that I would have ever admitted to myself. Over and over again, I found my eyes focused on the phone, thumb swiping the screen, before realizing that I was looking for an app that was no longer there. An APP! It’s been 2 weeks since disconnecting myself via phone from the Facebook community and there are times I still catch myself going to check it. It’s truly pathetic.
I’d like to think that Facebook helps me be more “others” focused. After all, I’m reading the thoughts of others, looking at their pictures, and conversing with them. I’ve realized something, though. Personally, Facebook has become something that is more “me” focused because it forces my attention inward. “I just need a MINUTE to myself,” I would think as I scrolled aimlessly through posting after post.
Now, I’m the only girl in this house and there are most definitely times that I need some space. (That and I do desire to stay sane during this season of caring for three wild little souls all day, every day!) However, when it came to frequently checking my phone, it was often thoughtlessly and selfishly motivated. Yes, that’s right, I said the big “S” word – selfish. When I become more concerned with my wants instead of the good of those that I claim to love (true love being to put others above myself), there’s just no alternative way to slice it.
Hear me now, please! I’m NOT saying that everyone should go delete Facebook from their phone because having it is selfish, bad, or so on. That’s not what this is about. My point is that I’m learning to be intentional with time and in relationships. It’s about being willing to take a realistic look about where my time and attention is going and making changes where they are needed.
A good friend asked me if there has been anything I have experienced that I would have otherwise missed since forgoing the luxury of the social world at my fingertips. It was a great question. The short answer is, “yes.” The detailed response is that Facebook may help me connect but it can’t replace the warmth of living life with one another in the REAL.
In these past few weeks, I would have seen more status and pictures, but I would have missed so many other things. I wouldn’t have had the small, insignificant, and nice conversation with the elderly gentleman in the elevator. I wouldn’t have noticed the sad lady sitting on the bench outside an office and would have failed to give her a smile and a small word of encouragement. I would have missed some really great evening conversations with my husband. I would forgone a hundred kisses and cuddles from my little boys. I would have missed their quirky expressions as they played. I would have missed hearing (not just listening) the hilarious conversations they have between each other. I would have missed being a part of those dialogues. I would have missed opportunities to see through the eyes of a child again and to laugh with them. I wouldn’t have understood why and what was frustrating them during our “take cover, someone is about to blow” moments (and there are a lot of them).
Do I miss having Facebook on my phone? Sometimes, yes, I do. Habits die hard. (Also, it was so much more convenient to upload pictures from my phone!) I still have a Facebook account and I still engage on it. The difference now is that it takes more effort on my part and that’s been beneficial in moderating how much time is spent online. (Doing things in moderation has never been my strong suite – just ask my husband and family!)
Years from now, I have a feeling that I will miss this time with my husband and kids much more than I will ever miss anything that technology can give. Speaking of the kids, I hear them starting to wake up from naps. Let the craziness (and the picture taking) begin!
“There has never been a generation when children have so desperately needed their parents’ time, thoughtful creativity, and friendship.” ~ Susan Schaeffer Macaulay