Ding! Ding! Ding! Hi Grandma, it's Maddie!

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

β€œπŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ… β€œGuess what, Grandma?  I got an iPod Touch for Christmas!!!!!!!! I can text and I’m going to FaceTime you too!!!!!!!! Get ready!!!!!!!!β€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈπŸ˜³β€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€  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. β€œI can play games AND watch movies AND look up Shopkins AND I can FaceTime with you, Grandma!!!” she said. β€œBut 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. β€œβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ Morning, Grandma!!!!!!,” and β€œπŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜πŸ’˜I love you, Grandma!!!!!!!!”  and β€œNitey nite, Grandma!!!!!!!!! πŸ‘©πŸ‘©β€οΈπŸ‘©πŸ‘©β€οΈπŸ‘©πŸ‘©β€οΈπŸ‘©πŸ‘©β€οΈπŸ‘©πŸ‘©β€οΈπŸ‘© (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, β€œGoing to my πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€πŸ€ game!!!!!!!!!”  Two days later, β€œI hope it gets cold so Max and I can 🎿🎿🎿🎿🎿🎿🎿!!!!!!!!!”  Next afternoon, β€œMy cousin Marisa is coming over to spend the night and we are going build ⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️⛄️ before we πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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, β€œDear 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. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ Ding!!!!!!!!