It started on Christmas day, around noon. My iPhone made a ding, then another, followed in a nano-second by a third ding. What’s going on, I wondered. Then I looked at my phone screen
“🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅 “Guess what, Grandma? I got an iPod Touch for Christmas!!!!!!!! I can text and I’m going to FaceTime you too!!!!!!!! Get ready!!!!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️😳❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️” The message came from my nine-year-old granddaughter Maddie in New Hampshire.
Suddenly, the FaceTime icon lit up. There on the phone screen was Maddie, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “I can play games AND watch movies AND look up Shopkins AND I can FaceTime with you, Grandma!!!” she said. “But it’s not a phone, so we’ll just text, okay?”
She wasn’t kidding. Over the next week my phone dinged like a bell buoy in a pea soup fog. “☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ Morning, Grandma!!!!!!,” and “💘💘💘💘💘💘💘💘💘💘I love you, Grandma!!!!!!!!” and “Nitey nite, Grandma!!!!!!!!! 👩👩❤️👩👩❤️👩👩❤️👩👩❤️👩👩❤️👩 (She’s big on exclamation points.)
She’s also big on emoji, a Japanese word that appears totally unpronounceable but Google educated me on how to say it: e-mo-gee. A recent study indicated that 40% of fifth graders text regularly and the majority of them use emoji. Maddie, apparently, has a motherload of those little ideograms and smileys.
To wit: on Saturday she texted, “Going to my 🏀🏀🏀🏀🏀🏀🏀 game!!!!!!!!!” Two days later, “I hope it gets cold so Max and I can 🎿🎿🎿🎿🎿🎿🎿!!!!!!!!!” Next afternoon, “My cousin Marisa is coming over to spend the night and we are going build ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️ before we 💤💤💤💤💤💤!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I’m actually enjoying the variety of emoji and tickled that my granddaughter wants to keep in touch. Communication and letter writing have always been important in my life. I appreciate receiving a hand-written letter, knowing the time and effort it took the sender. I really like it when I recognize familiar handwriting! I also keep a little treasure chest filled with letters from my parents and children that I cannot throw away.
Growing up, I still remember sitting at our round wooden kitchen table, writing a note to my grandmother on lilac-tinted paper because purple was her favorite color. (I also know that, had I not thanked Grandma for my Christmas gift, I wouldn’t have been let out of my bedroom until mid-March. My mother was a stickler!)
Which is probably why my kids wrote their grandparents too, and apparently my mother appreciated that because she saved many of their notes. I recently discovered one my daughter sent my mother and dad after Christmas, probably 35 years ago. The note is written on Raggedy Ann doll stationary and reads, “Dear MomMom and PopPop, I reely luv my doll carriage, my tee set and my Hess firetruck.” (Hess firetruck? No wonder her younger brother spent Christmas morning in tears.)
So Maddie and I text. And that’s great. It may not be the communication I was raised with, but it’s communication none-the-less. 😀😀😀😀😀😀 Ding!!!!!!!!