IMing with Mom

August 4, 2008 at 7:30 pm 5 comments

I moved out of the house just before I was 18.  I went to college out of state.  When I graduated, my then-fiancé and I moved just south of the state border from the town I grew up in.  Over a period of about 5 or 6 years, Mom and I developed the habit of getting in touch roughly once a week.  I say “roughly,” because that could sometimes stretch into several weeks, or very occasionally, a month.

My mom is not what you’d call “technologically savvy.”  Actually, she’s a bit of a paradox, because she works with computers all day (doing things that are WAY over my head), got her degree in programming back in the days of DOS, but she refuses to keep up with the 21st century’s innovations.  She doesn’t even carry a cell phone.  Seriously.  (Although at this point, it’s not for lack of understanding their basic necessity, just willful belligerence!)  A couple of months back, her then-boss insisted that everyone on his team have a Yahoo IM account.  He said it was to facilitate communication, but I personally think it was so that he wouldn’t have to leave his office and actually speak to people.  (Contrary to my mother, he is quite the tech-dork, no offense intended.)  On a whim, she suggested I open one as well.  (I’d been on MSN forever, but had had no need of Yahoo to that point.)  So I did.

Now let me explain, I am on the computer for probably six hours a day, in some capacity.  The very first thing I do every morning is log into my favorite forums, check my emails, and read my friends blogs over breakfast and coffee.  This takes about an hour.  Now, through the magic of IM, Mom and I were connected each and every single day.  Our relationship has grown exponentially.  We have reached the point where, at least to my mind, we are well beyond parent and child.  We are people, and dear friends.  We are up to the minute on each other’s lives.  I’ve even convinced her to start taking her laptop home on weekends, so we can still talk.  It’s become addictive.  Previously, if she didn’t hear from me for a week or two, the phone calls started:  my cell, the home phone, husby’s cell, work – so she could make sure everything was ok, and I wasn’t “dead in a ditch somewhere.”  Now, we’re so used to talking constantly, this process begins after just a day or two, which I find quite hilarious.  (You just have to know my mom.  She raised me to be a very independent creature, so to see her chasing me down is really funny.)

I must admit, I find this whole development remarkable.  I grew into adulthood right on the cusp of the internet explosion.  It was invented when I was in late elementary school, but even through jr. high and high school, people did not go home to “surf the net,”  which everyone now does.  I remember opening my first email account when I got to college in ’97.  My junior year, they transitioned us to this monstrosity called “web mail.”  What is so amazing to me is that people only a very few years younger than me do not remember a time before internet.  A very good online friend of mine, who is 25 and working on her master’s degree, researched most of her high school papers, filled out her college applications, and met her boyfriend via the internet.

So I got to thinking earlier today, that I bet there are those who are just a few years older than me, who are on exactly the opposite end of the spectrum.  If this is you, I cannot encourage you enough to take the two minutes to set up an IM account, and see how many of your friends you can locate.  You will be absolutely blown away by the relationships that can be built or rekindled, in time that you would normally be online anyway.  This simple act gave me a mother I would never otherwise have known.

How has technology helped you find, build, or improve your relationships?  Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

All my love, Kristy

Entry filed under: Relationships. Tags: , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. PaintandSoul  |  August 14, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Oh how I have tried with the IM thing!! My grandmother was on it for a very short time, and it did help our relationship. It didn’t last though. My mom just doesn’t surf the net anymore, when she’s not busting at work… yeah. So with her it never caught on either. I really wanted it too with her. I am counting on it with my best friend who recently moved, and in her case I just know it will help. 🙂 I have had people who I keep up with entirely that way, and it was very nice. We were often extremely close, it’s all about the contact.

    As for this comment: “A very good online friend of mine, who is 25 and working on her master’s degree, researched most of her high school papers, filled out her college applications, and met her boyfriend via the internet.” That’s me too, in a nutshell. How did I get in this nutshell???

  • 2. averagegoddess  |  August 14, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Too bad about your mom and grams! I know your BF will be all over it. Skype has also proven to be wonderful with some of my scattered loved ones, but I think that’s a bit too much to ask from Mom! Lol!

  • 3. Meredith (LitC!)  |  August 15, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    I definitely jumped right onto the internet highway the moment it was presented. I got to college in 1996, and was supplied with a “24 Hour Computer Lab!!!” (woohoo!) where my roomates and I spent HOURS messing around with ICQ and going into remedial bare-bones ‘chat rooms’. My parents decided that it would be good for the ‘girls’ to have a computer in our dorm room, and installed on that new computer was this thing called America On Line! Ohhhh the trouble we got into with AOL. I’m surprised I managed to graduate college. By the end of my Freshman year, I had online ‘friends’ scattered all over the country.

    Then my mom got AOL and it was on! I’ve been chatting with her online since . . . gosh I can’t even remember when. She still doesn’t correlate the sounds it makes with the messages (and infact thought her office was haunted once . . because she kept hearing a door creak open) . . . but we chat every day online.

    (infact . . every man I’ve ever dated, I met off the internet) . . considering the fact that internet dating was SO TABOO when it first got going, that’s pretty amazing!

    I think it’s a great tool . .. keeping in touch with friends, relatives. (I talk with my cousins in Ireland on a constant basis too . . something I’d never do if I had to use the expensive phone lines.) I’ve since graduated to Yahoo . . . and can instantly receive pics of my extended family, and watch them create an online masterpiece with the ‘doodle’ application (a LOT of fun if you’ve never tried it.)

    Just keeping up with the new technology will prove to be interesting!

  • 4. Jenn  |  August 17, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I have, in the last two years, discovered MySpace for this purpose. Old friends from high school, friends from college………we’re spread out all over the US (and Scotland!) but we all have MySpace pages. And we use them. Gotta love technology.

  • 5. averagegoddess  |  August 18, 2008 at 1:15 am

    I have to admit, I have been unconscionably slow to get with the social networking program. I find them terribly addictive. I mean to go in and say hello to my friends, and the next thing I know, it’s 12 hours later, time for bed, and I’ve missed a whole day of work! Thus I have tended to take an avoidance stance, whereas IM I can leave running in the background while I go about my business. You give me a well-deserved prod in the rear, however. I absolutely MUST get on the bandwagon. Who knows what I’m missing??? (Um, the rest of the universe, perhaps??)


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