Last week, I celebrated a birthday and the thing that struck me the most (besides, of course, feeling a million years older this pregnancy than the last, which was only four years ago) was that we really are living in a digital age. If my grandmother was still alive, I would have received a birthday card and small package with stationary and stamps, as was her tradition. She loved mail and I loved sending it. This year, I got one physical birthday card in the mail, two phone calls and one package in the mail (shoutout to my brother, who chooses the best books to read!).
Now, I’m not someone who should be pointing fingers. I don’t mail birthday cards either. The only person who routinely gets cards of any sort is my husband, although I usually manage to get cards for my parents on Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day and sometimes even their birthdays. I am struck by how social media and texting has made me super lazy, especially regarding celebrations of those who aren’t within driving distance.
The fact that I only got one physical birthday card in the mail doesn’t mean people don’t care. We just express our celebratory wishes differently now. Texting and Facebook messages are the norm, whereas phone calls and physical cards from people far away are not. (This year, I was also lucky enough to celebrate my birthday with extended family in Sunriver and they showered me – in person – with cards!) And I think this is especially true for people like me, who routinely express our dislike for actually talking on a phone. I love texting. And when I mean I love it, I really, truly love it. So thank you to everyone who sent FB messages, texted, called and wrote!
Something was missing on my birthday, though. I thought it was the phone calls and physical cards from loved ones far away, but I think the thing truly missing was my grandmother. I wish I had a recording of her voice, saying my name with grandmotherly tenderness and her Maine accent.
Time marches on.