By: Joey Uva
Being connected and conscious of it can be difficult at times; it can also be something to look forward to when you know you have limits.
My younger brother and his family moved to Texas last summer. My brother has been in the Air Force for over twenty years and was being transferred again. Over the past few years we have gotten use to them being in Arizona –it wasn’t southern California, but it was only a five or six hour drive and we could make a road trip of it. Sometimes we would drive to see them and sometimes they would come out to us. I remember when my brother was called to active duty in Afghanistan in the summer of 2008 to work on a medical base in the middle of the conflict. It was a difficult time for his wife, the kids, and us. My brother and his wife mostly communicated through emails and phone calls. Phone calls where limited to five minutes per day and that was a privilege my brother got on the medical base; most active duty get one phone call per week. Trevor and I spent time that summer visiting my sister-in-law and the kids while my brother was away. Now that my brother and his family are in Texas we keep up through phone calls, Facebook, and Skype. I wish we could be near each other and spend those weekends together like we did over the past few years, but that’s not possible right now. Sometimes you have to be thankful for technology because it allows you to stay connected.
I recently had a very dear friend ask if I would print off my posts from The Next Family so she could read them because she doesn’t use a computer. She is nearing eighty and using a computer is just not something she does. I printed everything, placed it in a large manila envelope, wrote a letter and mailed it off. About a week later I received a call from her thanking me for the package. It made me think, not many people write letters anymore as way to stay connected. I think a letter is so very personal. I recently wrote someone a letter and they were surprised because I still write in cursive. I have recently heard that cursive writing is being eliminated in many schools because it’s simply not used much anymore due to typing, technology, and how we connect now. I find that sad. I guess times change.
I remember being at the park one summer afternoon when Grace was four years old. I was pushing Grace on the swing and there was another little girl sitting on the swing next to her but she wasn’t being pushed. I was kind of baffled because her mom and dad –a celebrity couple (I won’t say who) –were standing there both busy on their cell phones –the dad leaning back on the swing set and the mom standing in the sand with her back to her daughter. Maybe I just happened to arrive after this little girl was swinging, but she looked like she had been waiting. I smiled at the little girl and gave her a few pushes between giving Grace a push. When her mom got off her cell phone she thanked me for pushing her daughter on the swing. How disconnected, I thought. Even with two parents there, they couldn’t manage to work together and ended up letting their cell phones disconnect the whole family.
Trevor and I are lucky to have friends who share our desire to personally connect through game nights, dinners, hikes, and other gatherings. We use Facebook, cell phones, texts, and emails but truly enjoy face-to-face personal time with our friends and family whenever possible.
When we have the time to connect face-to-face, we should take it. And if that’s not possible, thank god for technology.