Thursday, May 10, 2012

Living (Mostly) Unplugged

I read this blog post on How to Miss a Childhood by Hands Free Mama and I think it is so important that I wanted to share it on my blog.

It irks me, truly irks me, when I am having a conversation with someone and they are texting/web surfing/checking their email on their phone (or computer) at the same time.  I want to yell at them to put their phone away and actually talk to me, but I don't because I am a (mostly) mature adult and adults just don't do that sort of thing.  If that is how I feel as a grown up, I can only imagine how it must feel to a little child.

I have a very low tech cell phone.  It lets me make calls.  I do not subscribe to a text plan.  I have no data plan.  My phone is not smart.  Hubby has tried to get me to start texting.  I flat out refuse.  I do not want to be a person who is attached to my phone.  I want to use it to make necessary calls and that's it.  I do not want to be a person who is overly attached to my computer (though I do admit that computer time is something that I have to consciously monitor).  I do not want to be a person who is attached to my TV and can't live without seeing my favorite show.  (I quit watching TV back in October and have not looked back)

While the phone, TV, and computer do not tempt me, I'm not perfect.  Far from it.  My vice is books.  I am a reader.  I love to read.  I would read all day long if I could get away with it.  Back during the horrible period of my life when I was mired down in untreated depression, I pretty much lived in my books.  I did what I needed to do to get by, but all my spare time was devoted to reading.  I knew it wasn't healthy and that I needed to make a change.  I had my nose stuck in a book instead of focusing on my kids, my house, my husband, my life.  So I stopped reading books for pleasure and limited myself to informational books only for a three month period.  While I will sit down and read a good novel cover-to-cover in one sitting, I just can't get into books on parenting, gardening, and simple living in quite the same way.  It would take me a week to finish a book like that read in tiny snatches.  I'm back to reading novels, but I now limit myself to reading during our afternoon quiet time and after the kids are in bed. 

The one thing I have learned is that...

Life does not happen on a screen or in a book.

Life happens when I put the phone down, turn off the computer, turn off the TV, and sit down to read a book to my kids.  When I step out my door and take a walk while we try to classify all the trees we encounter.  When I put down the book I am reading because Joy says, "Mommy, do you want to see me dance?"  I watch her even though her dances are always the same and my book is engaging.  I watch her because it makes her feel loved and it is important to her.

Life happens when I turn off the radio in my car so that I can talk to my kids and hear their nonsense stories and lame jokes.  Because intermixed in those things are the precious moments when my children tell me they love me.  That I am the best mom in the world.  That they are glad they are a part of our family.  I listen because one day my kids are going to have something important to say and I want to be ready.

Life happens when I sit on the sidelines of my kids' soccer games and cheer so loud that my throat hurts after every game.  When I watch David score his first goal in two years.  When I watch Lizzy block a shot.  When I watch Joy actually touch the ball period.  When all the other little 4-6 year olds on Joy's soccer team end up on my blanket when they're sitting on the sidelines because I'm the only parent who talks to them.  When I can tell my kids I am proud of them and mean it because I actually watched them play the entire game.

Life happens when I put the book/newspaper/magazine/phone/computer/eReader/whatever down at the breakfast table and instead focus on what my kids are saying.  When I really look at their smiling faces and laugh with them.

Life happens when I live unplugged.

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