“How was your day?”
She doesn't look up. “Fine.” Her thumbs are already flying, responding to a text.
I try to think of another question – something that’ll prompt more conversation.
“So … your biology test … how do you think you did?”
Her finger sweeps across the screen, skimming through Facebook. “I think I did okay.”
So there you have it. These are the kinds of heart-to-heart conversations I have with my fifteen-year-old when she’s looking at her phone.
I try not to take it personally. I know this is typical teenage behavior. I realize that her friends are important. But I am her mother - and if I’m sitting next to her - she should talk to me!
As long as I'm venting, there’s something else I've recently noticed. It happens each morning when I drop her off at school. It goes something like this:
“Bye Em, have a good day. I love ‘ya.”
For awhile I didn't notice. Then one morning it occurred to me. Whatever happened to “I love you too, Mom”?
As I drove home I analyzed the situation. We’re weren't fighting. Our relationship was good. I finally concluded it must be a phase she’s going through.
But phase or no phase – it bugged me. I mean, I spent twelve hours in labor with that girl. I changed her stinky diapers. I held her hand on that first scary day of preschool. I have loved, nurtured, protected, disciplined, and cherished her for nearly sixteen years. Now, when I drop her off at school with a word of encouragement and a simple, “I love you,” what do I get in return?
“GOODBYE SWEETIE! HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY! MOMMA LOOOOVES YOU!”
But I don't want to embarrass her.
Not yet, anyway.
Last weekend Emily (and the rest of her high school) headed to camp for a two-day retreat. And listen to this. While at camp, all of the teenagers had to give up their phones.
I figured the break would do her some good. Instead of texting, she’d actually talk to her friends. Maybe she'd even enjoy some time away from Facebook and Instagram.
The morning she left for camp I received the following text:
Hey mom, in case I give up my phone before I can text you … I love you and I’ll see you on Saturday.
Well now. Maybe that iPhone isn't so bad after all.