Please join us in reading this week’s post written by contributor Jennifer Greenwald, mother of three and founder of the New Haven County Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network.
When I was a kid, before the modern conveniences of iphones and ipads, when we made mixed tapes off the radio, and telephones had busy signals, if a close friend moved away, it was devastating. It was the end. Even if that friend moved just a town away, that was it. All contact was gone, unless serious effort was made to write an actual letter, with pen and paper, which then had to be put into a real mailbox, which then could take a whole week for delivery, whereupon you had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for a response. Then, under those conditions, you might stay in touch. Maybe. Of course there was always the option of using the familial telephone hanging on a wall, but with busy tones and no answering machines there was a small window of opportunity when someone would actually answer it. Luckily, gone are the archaic days when communication was so cumbersome. Thankfully, smoke signals have been replaced with some extraordinary technology.
So, when my dear friend broke the news to me she was moving 600 miles away, my heart began to sink; however, that somber feeling didn’t last long. I thought with all the nifty modes of communication these days, it will barely feel like she is gone. Really, she is just an email, a text, a phone call away … and I can “see” her on Facebook whenever I want or follow her activity on Pinterest. Heck, we could even Skype if we want. It would barely feel like she was gone. I kind of wondered if I would actually even miss her. I mean, even when she lived 6 miles away, we regularly communicated through text or email or Facebook. So in many ways, I thought, nothing was really changing. I barely shed a tear the day the moving truck drove away.
It didn’t take long, maybe a week or so, when something happened. I was driving in her neighborhood and I had the inclination to stop by. It stung a little when I realized I couldn’t. I grabbed my phone and sent her a message telling her I missed her and that stinging feeling quickly passed. Well, at least for the moment. Soon enough, it happened again. It was morning and as I was dressing my two-year old, he asked if Oliver could come over to play. Since he doesn’t text or email or use Facebook or even talk on the phone yet, he didn’t have a way to connect with his missing friend. I explained in my best two-year old vocabulary that Oliver wouldn’t be coming to play anytime soon. That he had moved away. It hurt to acknowledge their move again. It made the reality of their absence a little more real. But I quickly remedied the situation by getting on Facebook and telling my friend the cute little conversation I shared with my son about missing them. Oh, the loveliness of technology, I thought, and I went about my day.
And then it happened again. It was a beautiful spring evening, wine was being poured, kids were frolicking outside and that feeling of somberness and longing seeped in and tugged at my heart. As I sat with the feeling, I realized how much I simply missed my friend. I missed her in a way technology couldn’t cure. Suddenly, I saw how a text or email or phone call can only reach so far and dig so deep. LOL’s don’t come close to the genuine laugher shared together. Following her recipe boards on Pinterest can never replace the dinners prepared and enjoyed over rich conversation. An email message or Facebook post suddenly felt so cold compared to the warmth that existed in our friendship. And it was in that moment I realized that with all the amazing advances in how we communicate… no matter how connected we are through our phones and our personnel computers… nothing can replace the actual connection of sharing space and time together. In this big world that has grown so small through technology, nothing can ever replace the human contact, the touch, a smile, a shared sigh, an understanding embrace or the genuine comfort that can only be felt by being in the presence of those we love. Some things are simply irreplaceable.