This past weekend we traveled 10 hours to visit our family in South Carolina. It always seems like the longest drive in the world. Why is sitting in the car so exhausting? You would think that just sitting there for long periods of time would be a form of resting. Somehow, it doesn’t work that way. Anyway, I did my post on Friday as we were driving down the road. Now, you may think that was a good use of time, but that isn’t the case for me for two reasons. One, and the biggest, is that I get very carsick and have my whole life; so riding down the road while staring at a computer isn’t really a good idea. The second reason is that we take back roads most of the way through the mountains where there is very little reception. Connectivity was sparse. Needless to say, it was not easy or pleasant to get that post up. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do the same thing for my Monday post as we drove back home yesterday. We are also from a very small town in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina. For some reason, my parents’ house is like a black hole. There is absolutely no cellular service whatsoever there. There is also no such thing as Wi-Fi there because they live too far outside of the city limits to get any kind of Internet service hooked up. It is really bad and super frustrating. It is extremely hard to even get a text to go through much less connect to the Internet. It really makes no sense considering there is a cell tower less than a mile down the road, but it is the truth. Now, I promise there is a point to telling you all of this. The point is that when we go home to visit family, we are all forced to unplug. My children, of course, think it is torture. I will admit that it drives both my husband and me nuts too. It is especially difficult when all of my businesses rely on the Internet and cellular service. While it is super inconvenient and very frustrating, I realized this weekend that it does allow us to really connect with our families while we are there. My mom was supposed to be watching my youngest nephew on Saturday but she wasn’t feeling well. That gave me the opportunity to connect with him in a way that we had not done before. It was the first time really that he ever had anything to do with me as a total mama’s boy. I thoroughly enjoyed just hanging out with him all day, as well as, spending time with my grandparents and husband’s family while we were there. I even had actual conversations with my children, which is rare these days.
We really should take the time to unplug more often. I think that is important. We get so wrapped up in our phones and computers that we sometimes loose those real genuine connections. I think that is especially true of someone like me who really prefers to text than talk on the phone and who has a really introverted personality. It is so much easier to connect through a device than it is to connect face to face. Plus, that is what is more comfortable to me. I know that I am super guilty of hiding behind my phone or computer so that I don’t have to feel uncomfortable. As we stopped for dinner last night on our way back home, I suddenly noticed that all 4 of us were sitting at the table on our phones and not at all communicating with each other. I guess that we were all in withdrawals from being unplugged all weekend and were trying to catch up. It honestly happens all of the time, though, but it has never occurred to me just how sad it is until last night. This is the world that our kids are growing up in, and it is our job as their parents to teach them proper communications skills. That job is even harder with the amount of technology these days. Last night I started thinking that we were failing miserably as parents. With our busy schedules and the fact that we are rarely all four in the same place at the same time, it is difficult to find time to connect with each other. Each of us always has our phone within arms distance at all times, and my kids are often closed up in their rooms on their computers. It was a wakeup call for me last night. We really need to focus on spending time together as a family unplugged. It has to become a priority. We only have a few more years before both girls are gone. We will have missed out on so much if we don’t start to put down the phones and close our computers. I know we will regret it if we don’t make a change. It is going to take a conscious effort and will probably result in a lot of growing pains and maybe a few meltdowns, but it is an effort that I think is worth putting forth. This is honestly a lesson that we can all use. Stop, put the device down, and communicate with your loved ones on a regular basis. If you have to physically lock your phones in a box during family dinners, do it. If you have to miss an important call, do it. Trust me! That call can wait, that Facebook post isn’t going anywhere, and those sports scores will still be there in 30 minutes. Face to face interactions are so important. It is how we learn, grow, and make true connections. We all have to wake up and unplug before it is too late.