Not long after one son was safely back at school, albeit wobbly on two injured feet (another story), I heard from the other – first a quick phone call and then an invite on Skype.
At least as much fun?
Cooking with my son online, though he is half a country away.
And yes, I recently expounded on the time-honored tradition of talking on the telephone, but I must admit – the visuals on Skype were enticing – both his new digs and his crock pot concoction.
Our meandering conversation?
A mother’s delight. Along with a few mentions of moving (very recently), cycling (one of his passions), and the architectural surprises inherent in living in a renovated school building, we exchanged tidbits on his “everything” stew-in-process and my latest variations on pressure cooker soup.
What can I say? This is the kid of Apple Sharlotka fame – it’s a heavenly confection – and both my boys love to eat – well. Consequently, they know their way around a kitchen.
Skyping With Your Kids: A Bit Like Being There
While Skyping, I was able to stroll through the house with my laptop and point out a corner I had cleaned (an offending spot for years), a piece of furniture his brother helped me move (before smashing up his feet), and shock of shockers, his brother’s room, which was surprisingly (and uncharacteristically) tidy.
More amazing still – that my son and I could visit in this way as we had when he was studying in Geneva, and as I had with his brother a few months back, while he was spending a semester in Florence.
Let’s hear it for Skype to reach out to our college kids and young adults far away!
Communication “What Ifs”
Now I’m wondering what “might have been” had some of our legendary literary lovers been able to avail themselves of social media…
How might Romeo and Juliet have fared if they had texting and Tumblr and Skyping? Might they have avoided their terrible fate? Could the Montegues and Capulets have become Facebook friends and achieved some small semblance of civility? What if Romeo was posting inappropriate Instagrams or tweeting flirtatiously to another girl?
As for the rest of us, what if we could have used a medium like Skype to discuss some of our most challenging moments with family members – rather than, for example, a letter? Could that have helped – or would it have hurt?
Letters Leave Something Behind
A small digression: Having succumbed to a cleaning frenzy a few weeks back (no doubt something of a motivation to my College Kiddo), I took an hour or so each day to continue plowing my way through papers and files in boxes. In so doing, I came across a stack of letters by me to my mother. I stumble into these time capsules now and again; I had no idea I wrote (after college), not to mention during the summer that I lived in France as a teen.
The bulk of the letters dated to the birth of my children and the first few years that followed. What I noticed: my penmanship at the time was so much neater than it is today; my content was newsy and stuck to the topic of babies and toddlers. My life was hectic – juggling kids, job, husband – but not tinged with the stresses that came later. And, these subjects were safe ground with a rather difficult mother.
After her passing, I found most of these letters packaged up and labeled in a file. I haven’t always been able to open them and read. For many reasons, it can be painful at certain times and at others, a way to remember tender moments between us.
The Best of All Worlds: Options!
While I may miss receiving letters by the hand (and writing them), I am thrilled that technology offers so many options for keeping in touch – especially with college kids and young adults that have left us to our empty nest. I am also grateful for the memories we may treasure that are created in so many ways – cooking with our children when they are young, letters and notes, images of all sorts, and yes, Skype, for that occasional experience of a visit that really is close to being there.
Besides, since my kiddos love to cook – and no, they aren’t crazed in the kitchen (though they’ve been known to tease me about my fondness for spatulas and other odd utensils), I find I’m picking up pointers along the way. Delicious time spent, indeed.
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