Parents buy cell phones for their teenagers because they want to be able to reach them at all times. It makes parents believe that their youngsters will be safe. If they are threatened in any way they can call a parent or a friend or the police. And that’s why teenagers have cell phones. Yeah, right.
Yesterday I took my fourteen-year-old granddaughter to lunch and to shop for her birthday. I’m amazed that we ever communicated enough to make the date. The night before I started by texting Ms MM. As a rule, teenagers will respond to a text much more promptly than to a call. Not so this time. I talked with her mom and she told me that MM’s phone had problems and she could not text out. And I suppose she didn’t bother checking her texts since she couldn’t text back. My logical brain is telling me she could have called me but teens don’t really like to call. I will give her this: if she had read the text, she would have called me. She’s respectful that way toward her grammy. In fact I would add that she’s generally respectful of others whether it’s her grandmother or not.
I had decided that I would have to talk to her another day and book a date for the weekend. So I went to bed. The next day around 11:00 I received a call from the beautiful Ms MM. I knew immediately who was calling because my phone tells me the call is from Ms MM, my fave granddaughter. I wonder who programmed that into my phone. Giggle. I also have a granddaughter A, my fave granddaughter. (They’re almost the same age.) So, back to this little story–MM was calling to ask if I could pick her up at a friend’s house and oh, by the way, could I also take another friend home. And so I did.
MM and I then went to the mall, had lunch and shopped for her birthday. She is never at a loss for words and we had a great conversation while we were eating. She explained to me about her phone and all that is wrong with it. About two years ago her dad bought her a much-begged-for iPhone and she had it only a few days when she left it lying on her dad’s car and forgot about it. Dad didn’t know it was there. He took off in the car and the rest is history–a smashed iPhone. She was then given a discarded phone from some family member and now it’s about to bite the dust. She can have a new phone when her two-year waiting period has elapsed. It’s coming up soon. Meantime she rides along with me and lovingly caresses my phone, and texts people.
I told her, with my tongue in my cheek, why she has a phone in the first place. See first paragraph above. It’s for my convenience and her parents’ convenience and texting her friends should be the last thing on her list. At first she looked at me with those big brown eyes and nodded as if she agreed with me. But when I told her the next time I couldn’t get an answer I would call the police and report her missing, she caught the twinkle in my eye and started to grin. She told me, “That wouldn’t be too good.”
She’s a smart girl. I bet she understood that it concerns her parents and me when we can’t reach her.
There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. ~ Stephen Stills
I admit this isn’t one of my more attractive photos. I had to shoot it though. I showed it to my grandson recently and asked him to tell me what he saw. His response was, “Cookies?” That’s not at all what I thought when I first saw it sitting on the drainage grate in front of a house in my neighborhood. I recognize that my vision isn’t what it once was but I thought it looked more like dog poop than cookies. I took a closer look and realized it was a Thomas’ English muffin with peanut butter. There must be some irony here but I’m not sure what. I say that because this is what D used to eat most mornings for breakfast.
When I realized what it was I said aloud (yes, I talk to myself) “A free writing prompt!” Then my imagination took off for the rest of my walk as I tried to figure out what scenario might have led someone to leave breakfast on the grating. There are so many possibilities.
Scenario #1–Ten-year-old Emma loves animals. It would be just like her to leave her breakfast there for the neighbor’s dog to enjoy when he goes for his morning walk. She knows his owner will bring him by at about 9:00 or so. She sat on the front steps and waited for him during the summer. Or maybe, because the weather was colder than usual, she wanted to feed the birds. There are so many of them flitting about from tree to ground and back again. Could be she’s noticed the yellow and white long-haired feral cat that scavenges the neighborhood looking for a bite. It would be just like her to sacrifice her meal for that poor wanderer. Everyone else fears him because he might be mad.
Scenario #2–Emma had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. Mommy had to call her several times. She wanted to get up the first time but she was so tired. Mommy and Daddy fought again last night. Emma has noticed that the fights are happening more often and getting louder. She wishes Daddy wouldn’t hit Mommy. She wishes Mommy wouldn’t make him mad. This morning, because Emma couldn’t wake up, she didn’t have time to eat. She had to catch the bus to school because her mom didn’t have a car to drive her. Daddy wouldn’t allow Mom to have a car. Mom, rushing to the bus stop to give her daughter breakfast, watched sadly as the bus pulled away from the curb. She didn’t have the heart to take it back inside.
I have mentioned before that usually when I write my fingers go places and my brain tags along. I think I wrote #2 because domestic violence was on my mind. My blogger friend Kim writes passionately about and against such violence and its devastation to families and communities. Her passion has led me to take up the cause in some small way. Several years ago I volunteered for a time as a Guardian ad litem. (1-866-341-1425) My perspective is from the child’s point of view because, as a Guardian ad litem, I was a voice in the court system for children who were often victims of domestic violence. Thank you, Kim, for reawakening my awareness. It certainly has put my divorce in perspective.
National Domestic Violence Hotline–1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224