Lessons From Letters

I was reading several letters that I had written to my mom from Kenya recently and one thing that struck me was how much technology has changed in the last 24 years.  Kati is in South Africa right now and because we both have iphones, I have talked to her several times a week (some weeks) and actually seen her while we talked. In the letters I wrote to my mom in 1989-1991, so many of the them contained this sentence..."we don't have a phone yet.  If you need to reach us you can call ..... that is the number at Jim's apartment."  I know we finally got a phone when we lived in St. Andrews Towers because I remember how bad the echo was when I talked to my mom and dad.  Since we had so little furniture and no curtains in that apartment, the living room was just a big echo chamber.  After that we moved around so much we didn't have a phone until we moved into the apartment at Kamiti Courts, right around the time that Nick was born. 

I love that I can keep up with Kati while she is so far away.  I love it that she can post photos on Facebook and I can see her new friends and also see the places she has been visiting.  I wrote letters to my parents almost weekly while we were in Kenya, and tried to take and send photos as we could afford it (the cost of film and developing the pictures back then was a luxury for Tom and I), but it was nothing like how we can communicate today.  Funnily enough, however, there is something really special about reading all those letters I wrote back then.  Typing is fast, but there is nothing as special as a hand-written letter.  Even some of the articles I wrote for the newspaper in Michigan were hand written.  I couldn't afford a typewriter for awhile.  I'm so thankful my mom kept all those letters. 

The other thing that struck me as I was reading was how it must have been for my parents having me live so far away and only being able to rely on those letters coming to find out how I was doing and how Tom and I were getting along.  Nick just moved to Texas to start his new job and he has called me a couple of times in the last week.  I am so thankful for that.  I am grateful he can share what's happening and how he is settling in.  It is really special to me that he called.  I don't expect calls all the time, but there is a comfort knowing how easy it is for me to reach and speak to both of my kids as they set out on all their new adventures in life. 

I guess the conclusion to all this is that while I love reading those letters and think they are very special, if I had to choose between being my parents back then and being Nick and Kati's parent now, I'll stick with and stay grateful for the technology we have today. 

Lori ZieglerComment