Aideen Glynn’s weekly column as published in the Waterford News & Star Well! magazine
ISN’T it funny how one little device, one small handheld instrument, one miniature phone, can contain the details and minutiae of your life in such quantities that its loss is literally the end of the world as you know it? All the contact details for people in your life are contained therein. All the photos and videos of precious moments in time live in the memory of the phone. All indiscretions, moments of madness and online shopping history are recorded there. Any observations, ideas and things to follow up on are kept in the notes sections and even important emails are all kept on the device. So when this gadget literally vanishes into thin air, you may as well vanish with it. This phone was an extension of you, and now it’s gone.
The loss of a mobile phone can bring on an intense and sometimes extreme emotional reaction. It is like losing a part of yourself or losing your closest friends. For losing this means losing all contact with the outside world. That’s probably a little extreme but the grief and the trauma is real. The loss of this precious inanimate object can trigger an overwhelming emotional response in its owner.
To be fair, the thought of being out of contact for the foreseeable future is enough to make anyone panic. All the many followers on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, all the real life friends who are texted regularly, all the family members who are constantly looking for updates, what will they do, how will they cope without your presence in their lives?
The strange thing is that they will most likely do very little differently. In fact, truth be told, many probably won’t even notice the radio silence. Except your mother. Your mother will always notice.
You see, it’s not my phone that has gone walkabout but that of the eldest son. It has simply disappeared off the face of the earth. Vanished. Gone. Nowhere to be found and, I would imagine, never to be seen again. Sofas are notorious for gobbling up almost everything but this time even that search proved fruitless. All it coughed up were a few measly coins. And seeing as this particular lad is winging his way to college and away from the nest, the timing couldn’t be worse. He needs to be contactable. He needs to be able to stay in touch and we need to know he’s doing ok without us. Although why he wouldn’t be is a mystery really.
But maybe without the constant presence of the device he will actually have to take notice of the world around him. Maybe he will have to learn how to make his way around his new city without the benefit of constant internet access. He will have to remember where he got off the bus and the directions to return there. He will have to read an actual book instead of watching something on the tiny screen. This could be a big shock.
I have to confess that although it’s nice to see his eyes for a change rather than just the top of his head, I am struggling with the loss too and not just because of the financial implications. I will miss not having the contact, the reassurance that he’s safe and the safety net that is the constant internet access.
Say what you will but there’s a lot of good associated with this permanent access. I only realise now how much I depend on it to keep my children and other loved ones safe. I know another phone will have to be sourced and purchased sooner rather than later. It won’t be a fancy one, but it will be reliable and this time probably insured too. We’ve learnt our lesson… shh Mum’s the Word.
Parenting Fail of the Week
Letting your child suck away on a little soother seems an easy way of comfort. Until they find their thumbs, or find another way to comfort themselves, sucking away happily on a little innocuous soother seems such a good idea. And it generally is. Until they become older and their teeth stick out at funny angles often as a result of the way they were sucking the wretched things. And then you have to face the orthodontist, which is an expensive and rather embarrassing visit, as you begin to understand why the little darlings have crooked teeth, and the fact that you probably contributed.
Aideen’s Parenting Hacks
If the heads of little children are filled with good thoughts as they lay down to sleep chances are they will sleep better and longer and will be much more settled. So before they go to bed ask them about their day, praise them for something good they did, get them to focus on something positive that happened and turn off your mobile phone for a bit. Having your undivided attention will be a positive enforcement to them and reassure them that they are loved and important.