The gotcha of our digitally connected world

Supporting those who fight for our Flag, Motherhood and Apple Pie

Can’t quite believe it’s already been a month, a full 30 days, since we saw my son off. 

 I’ve heard from him five times; four e-mails, and one  six word long “Facebook” update. Writing here, that more than once per week average seems like plenty of communication. I’m sure there are many others who would give their eye teeth to hear from their soldier this frequently. But right now,  it  doesn’t feel like enough. I know the problem is entirely mine: I thought it was going to be more.

 We heard we could  communicate through Skype for instant messaging and video phone calls. It sounded so easy. So possible.  I very distinctly told myself NOT to get my hopes up,  NOT to count on using this technology. 

A few days pass pretty easily without hearing from him. On the third day, I start to get anxious.  By the  fourth, I’m jumpy and unduly short with the good people around me.

I wonder how my Grandma did it, when dad was in WWII.  She told me they went many months not hearing from him, and then they’d get a stack of letters, four, five, six,  all at once.  They’d read them in the order they were written, and compare them to the saved war report newspaper articles, trying to fill in the gaps of where he’d been, what he’d been doing. They’d pour over these letters, devouring this news, rereading and absorbing this physical, tangible proof that he was still alive and well. They’d weep in relief.  And they’d thank God. 

It was a different world then.   There weren’t Google Search tools sending  automatic notifications about war zone activity.  They didn’t receieve  “tweets” from others, outside the wire. They didn’t know when thunderstorms rolled through, or that no one likes to use the reconstituted milk,  not even for their coffee. There weren’t bits and bytes moving through the ether, creating images in their minds of these far away places.  There was just mail.

The difference wasn’t that Grandma’s separation anxiety was less, it’s that she didn’t expect more.

The mail was a gift.

Gifts aren’t expected. 

This is the difference I need to get my head around.


3 Responses to “The gotcha of our digitally connected world”

  1. 1 Firefly
    April 21, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Yes, as you say, obviously, your grandma was as worried as you are, but she didn’t have the ability to check her e-mail twenty times a day, which keeps all those questions–how is he? when will I hear from him again?–constantly popping in the forefront of your thoughts. On the other hand, what would your grandma have given to be able to see or hear your dad via Skype? You and your grandma join in that universal motherhood who has ached for their soldier-sons since the beginning of time. Thank you for writing so beautifully about things we should all think about. I keep you and your son in my heart always.

  2. 2 jhp2
    April 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    You seem to have the milblogging thing down but just in case, here are some of the best to check out. The godfather of milblogs is Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette (www.mudvillegazette.com). The most well known is probably Blackfive (www.blackfive.net). And the Victory Caucus (victorycaucus.com)is roundup of milblogs and relevant info. Good reading and good luck to your son.

    • 3 applepiemom
      April 28, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement on the blogging, and the good wishes for my son. I think, honestly, I’m getting into a phase of acceptance, or familiarity, with him being gone. Not quite the “pins and needles” of the first month. Helps so much to read Bouhammer, Kilroy, et al.

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