“Hey, Daddy, do you know what? Guess what I did at school today!”
Small daughter always has a lot to say for herself but because of the hours my husband works, he doesn’t often get chance to catch up with her before she goes to bed. Today, though, he was getting the full story and what made this even better was that he was in America.
I can often be heard to do quite a lot of muttering about new technology, usually when I’m at the self-service till at the checkout (“it’s IN the bagging area!”), but even I can’t deny that being able to see and speak to your family when you’re thousands of miles away and five hours behind is nothing short of amazing.
Small daughter takes all this in her stride. To her, it’s nothing miraculous at all, it’s just how it is. She navigates around the computer with ease, knows how to work my mobile phone better than I do and wouldn’t dream of going on a long car journey without her iPod.
Big daughter can’t believe that there was once a time when we didn’t all have mobile phones. Trying to talk to her in her room the other day, her phone bleeped almost constantly with message after message for the five minutes I was in there. If I wanted to ask a friend about my homework, I had to go round to see them, or wait until the next day. I certainly wasn’t allowed to use the phone for such a trivial matter, and if I did manage to persuade my parents that a phone call was vital, I had to wait until after six o’clock when it was cheaper!
Most of the time, I wouldn’t be without the technology that we have now. Big daughter went on a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition hike last weekend and we were more than relieved when the original “no mobiles” instruction was changed to “take them but don’t use them”. At least I knew that in an emergency she could call for help, and when her return train was late home, I knew exactly what time to meet her at the station. And when our electricity went off overnight a few weeks ago, I realised that although there is something rather nice about sitting in a room lit with candles with nothing to do but talk to each other, I was also very glad when the electricity came back on as I’m lost these days without the internet!
So much of the technology around today makes our lives go faster; we immediately reply to emails or messages rather relying on the post, or we just call someone up to ask a question instead of waiting until we next see them which can be as frustrating as it’s useful, but watching their smiles as my girls spoke to their Dad so far away, I wouldn’t swap any of it.