Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Telephone, Telegraph, Tell a Woman

It's been interesting to see how each of the Boys chooses to communicate once he is no longer within hollerin' range.

When Boy#1 went off to college, I discovered instant messaging. He obligingly checked in every day or so, sometimes for just a sentence or two and sometimes for an extended conversation. It was wonderful--I had more communication with him than I had when he was still living under our roof. When my friends complained that their children never called home, I smugly told them about the miracle that was the instant message.

Then Boy#2 went off to college and proved me a liar. I waited for his icon to appear on my instant messaging screen, and waited, and waited, and waited, and finally realized he was using a different IM service. In the meantime we impressed on him that parents' phone calls are to be answered, even if they're only demanding proof of life. Now he calls us (on a headset, of course) when he's driving, and all are happy.

Boy#3 is a music major and is in rehearsals approximately 29 hours every day, so he usually is accessible neither by IM nor by phone. For three years Husband and I have had these conversations:

"I wonder how Three is."
"Yeah, haven't heard from him in a while."
"Do you suppose he's all right?"
"Oh, I'm sure someone would have let us know if there was anything wrong."
"Oh, my gosh, we'd better call someone."

Over the weekend, I realized that in the anaconda crush that is pre-Homecoming I hadn't talked to Three for a couple of weeks, and since 7 a.m. on Saturday is not a kind time to call a college student, I wrote a long e-mail. The next day I had a long reply waiting in my in-box. I read it, and re-read it, and smiled happily, and realized why my parents saved all my letters from when I was at school. (It wasn't because they were literary masterpieces after all.)

We're still figuring out the steps of the communication dance with Boy#4. Like his mother, he's not much of one to talk on the phone. (When I am done with a conversation, I am DONE.) His circadian rhythms aren't particularly compatible to instant messaging, what with his preferred awake time being the exact same hours as my preferred sleep time.

For now, we're taking each communication as it comes, whether it's by e-mail, instant message, or telephone. In fact, just as I was writing this his instant message icon popped onto my computer screen:

"The dorm people want to do a Wizard of Oz float for homecoming because we're playing K-State."

I smile happily, even if he's irked that the Texas image of Kansas comes from a 1940s musical.

Excuse me, please. I need to talk to my Boy.

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