Wow. What can I say? I’ve never been in a relationship where love was expressed with such reciprocity, a standard, on-going affair with mutual admiration and respect.
I. Complete. You.
You take me everywhere. When I’m not with you, you notice right away and panic, afraid you may have missed a call or a text or an email. You think about me constantly until we’re reunited, wondering what I might have in store for you. When you wake up, you check me. Every night before bed, you make sure you plug me in.
Could your wife say the same?
I’m such a part of you that sometimes you even feel your leg vibrate when I’m not in your pocket. I’m a part of your being.
This morning your son was playing with his Mickey Mouse toolbox when he finally demonstrated the dexterity it takes to screw and unscrew that large plastic bolt. That’s a big deal.
And you missed it because you were looking at me.
When he got out of the bathtub he bolted into the living room, running around the house naked with the freedom and exuberation that only a three-year-old can possess, chasing the dogs and hiding from a dad that was too busy reading Google News to even know he was supposed to be seeking.
The way he looks at you, looks up to you with an admiration that only a boy can possess for his father… it’s awesome. Everything he does, he checks to see if you’re watching him, whether it be Dumbo eating imaginary peanuts or running over the dog with his toy tractor. He watches you.
And in return, you watch me.
He’ll even come over from time to time and push me away from you, trying to block your vision of me with his hand. “Jaden,” you tell him, “you don’t do that.” If you looked up from me long enough, you’d be able to see the disappointment in his face.
So many people in your life with grown children have told you, “cherish these years. You don’t get them back.” You smile, nod, and tell them you will.
And then you come right back to me.
Even when you do feign the role of caretaker, I’m a part of it. Remember the Fourth of July fireworks at the lake with the family? You saw the display through me, because you were so fucking concerned with getting a profile picture that you watched the entire extravaganza through my lens. And I did my part; you got some great pictures.
And managed to miss the entire thing.
Birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries — you watched them all through me, never once stopping to realize that the reality of what was going on was so much bigger than my display screen.
How many nights have you come to me to read instead of talking to your wife about her day, your day, her life, your life. How many conversations have you missed, communication that can be the glue that holds a marriage together, the difference between “happily ever after” and “I need a good divorce lawyer,” because you chose to spend your evening looking at me instead?
Jason, this means so much to me. Thank you.
I’ve enabled you to live your life vicariously through others, checking the statuses of what other families are doing, keeping you from really having to do anything with your own. The lives of others, after all, are so much more interesting — at least the lives they choose to present as reality on the blue website.
Just between you and me — it’s total bullshit. We phones talk to each other, and gossip flows like wine. Those are just the lives they want you to think they’re living. In reality, they can’t get off their phones anymore easily than you can.
But shhh… that’ll be our little secret.
Even the one thing I was originally made for — talking to other human beings — you’ve bypassed. Do you realize how many of your friends would give anything to have just one, let alone two, of their parents still around? Just one more day to spend with them? Yours are not only alive, but apparently still in the stone age, because they actually call you. Often. But I help keep you too busy to accept those calls.
Push red, slide left.
Instead you choose to use my texting features. When you get around to it. If you remember.
I make it possible to keep in touch from a distance. You use me to stay distant and never touch.
So I’m here to say thank you. As life passes, I’m the passenger-side window you lean up against, staring off into the distance at everything, yet not really seeing anything.
And to me, that means more than I’m capable of expressing. After all, I am just a phone.