She Wasn’t Really There

by Byron on September 4, 2014

Decker,

Last week, we sent a video via text message to Emily, one of your favorite babysitters.  “Emmy!  Emmy!” you call her.  She sent you a video back.  She said, “Hi Decker!  I miss you.  I’ll see you soon.”

You watched it about 100 times.  You said, “Emmy! Emmy!” a bunch of times.  She wasn’t really there.  You were not able to talk to her and have her talk back to you.  You didn’t get it at first, but you eventually did.  You wanted to see her and look at her and react to her and have her react back to you.  You learn a lot from body language and presence.  A lot!

But this isn’t about the trite, common refrain of “Technology is killing personal interaction…it’s making us more distant…less human.”  That’s not the point.  Your message to Emily probably made her feel great.  Her message back to you made you feel really good, judging by you watching it 100 times.  That’s great.  Technology is wonderful.

But she wasn’t really there.  Watching you while you were wrestling with the difference in your mind was a little bit heartbreaking.  Eventually you understood she was never going to say “Decker!” in response to “Emmy! Emmy!”

You say “Daddy?!?” and “Mommy?!?” all the time.  I always say, “Deckie!” back to you.  “I’m here.  I’m really here.” is what I’m saying.  I hope I’ll be here for a long long time.  But wherever I am, know that being there with you and your brother was the best for me.

I love you,

Dad

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