Monday, July 29, 2013

The Day My Mom Read My Blog

My mother uses her very, very, very old cell phone only for an emergency (think accident), considers texting evil, and has abhors the concept of plastering pictures on social media.  Once, long ago, my brother brought her a computer; however, he quickly removed it to maintain his own sanity!  I mute my phone and do not respond to texts or messages in her presence as a sign of respect for our time together and because seeing anyone walking around talking or texting on a cell is the source of angst!  However,  yesterday, my mother sat in her chair with my cell in her hand, scrolling through pages, commenting at times, and reading my blog like a kid who had just discovered a wonderful, new world! 

This whole wacky series if events started as we were talking about my own writing and publishing dreams.  I told her that I write about "teacher stuff" but that I also model a writerly life for my grad students.  I demonstrate in real time how the "slices" of my life become the "seeds" of texts and how they become stronger through reflection and revision.  My mom asked if I could show her something I had written, and so, I opened to a recent page I thought she might find interesting.  I handed her the phone.  To be honest, my heart skipped a beat as I handed her the phone. 

I sat there, a little scared that maybe, I had written something too personal for her taste.  I showed her how to scroll down the page and how to "restart" the phone when it went dark.  She sat in silence for a long while and then said, "I could have told you about skiing on Jobberberg Mountain.  I went there once to watch them jump!"  I never knew that!

I know that reading small print can be hard for her, and I have trouble reading more than short texts on the cell phone, so I offered to read a few to her; however, she vehemently responded, "I want to read them myself."  And, on her own, she read all the posts on that "mobile phone page,"  skipping over the ones she declared "for teachers."  With a little bit of excitement in her eyes, she asked, "Can I see more?" 

With a serious face, she asked if I had written any about marriage.  It was not easy to find, but I did.  "Your dad was a wise man," she noted with a bit of a tear in her eye.  Then, and only then, she asked if I had written any about her.  I sure am glad I did.

Finally, I showed her the here-to-for evil social media: Facebook and Twitter.  I provided pictures of great-grandchildren playing on the beach that very same day!  She wanted more!  I showed her, proudly, a Mother's Day tweet from my own child!  She asked for more!

Finally, I really had to leave and I needed to take my cell phone with me! "This has been fun," she said happily. 

"I'll be back with more for you to read," I promised, knowing full well that in the future, I will be able to share posts, pictures and messages!  I also made a mental note to myself to get a "mobile airport" so that she can read my blog on a somewhat larger and easier to read-on tablet computer!    

I am pretty sure there are several "morals" to this story.
1) Putting our thoughts and words on paper is a powerful experience.
2) Don't "publish" unless you would be "OK" if your mom read it.
3) Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren: Don't put anything into writing that you don't want your Grandmother (or Nan to M, S, M, M, M, M, E, L, M, C, G) to find!  She just might! 

Thank you TWT for hosting SOL and making me feel like a writer! 


Anonymous said...

What a lovely chance for your mother to find out more about you - and to see that not all things digital are evil. Reading this made me want my own mother to be here so she could read my writing.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I loved that photograph - your mother looked so completely absorbed in your writing. What a wonderful thing to have shared and opened up this new avenue in your relationship!

Leigh Anne said...

Isn't it funny how even as adults, we still seek our parent's approval? I love your second moral,"Don't publish unless you would be OK if your mom read it." I tell my kids that when they text or post something on Facebook. Wonderful story.

Kay said...

I love your mom's reaction to your blog and writing! Writing is indeed powerful.

elsie said...

What a great story! Your mom will be delighted to read this.

maria.selke said...

So funny! I love how you described her complete attention to what she was reading - as well as her flipping by the "Teacher stuff".

I post many of my blog links to my FB account, but I don't really EXPECT them to get read there. Sometimes my mom or dad comment (in person) about something they read there. I always consider the fact that they could read it before posting anything (along with remembering that former students, current parents, etc could be reading)

My parents are both on Facebook - as are my husband's parents. They aren't as active as I am, but they do appreciate the grandkid photos.

Peg D said...

So wonderful! I love that how you described how nervous you were and how much she enjoyed what you had written. I love that she wants more. Guess it's like announcing you are going on a diet -- now your mom is interested you better keep writing. ;-)

Nanc said...

Wow...I wonder if my mom would like reading. I haven't written about her. It is hard because of the decline and change in personality we have experienced with her. This was a great post and made me laugh about the mobile device. Thanks for telling it Anita. xo

Judy said...

Anita, I can relate so well to your Mom - the too get agitated when people are always on their phones, but never talking! We Moms are so proud of our daughter writers. I was so pleased when Michelle shared her blog with us and love reading and commenting. Thanks for sharing your "Mom" story and I'm sure she'll be asking for more!

Michelle said...

Oh, I love this! What a special gift. It's funny how we write and share with "the world," but yet some of our closest family, friends, and colleagues have no idea. I loved that you shared this with your mom and that she ate it up!

Can't wait until she reads this slice! Welcome Mom! You are a part of this writing community even as a reader! :)


I loved this. Hello to your mother.

Anonymous said...

Your morals of the story are very well-taken -- I would add something else that comes through in your writing, which is the power of listening to and committing to paper/screen the stories of our elders. Great post!