We no longer have a landline for our home phone. I realize this isn’t that big of a deal in today’s world of cellphones and Internet, but for some reason not having the phone is sending me into a slight panic. The panic has very little to do with the fact that we are totally screwed should we lose cell signal or that telemarketers will no longer be able to find us. My panic has to do with what a lack of home phone means for J. Yes, J. The youngest of our clan who quite frankly has only used the phone to talk to his grandmothers a couple of times each year.
But, it was J who struggled to memorize this number and when he finally accomplished the goal, he said, “Now I know how to tell people where I belong.” While I had completely forgotten about that preschool (OK, more like kindergarten) accomplishment, it came rushing back to me the minute my husband said he had made the call to cancel our phone service. The one number that represented “where we belong” for the past 12 years was no longer there and I started to feel as if I was doing a disservice to my children, especially J who didn’t have a cellphone number to call his very own.
While he would love to use this as an excuse as to why a 7–year-old boy needs his own cellphone, the truth is, J doesn’t care about the home phone. So, why is this such a big deal to me? Perhaps I’m the one who has been feeling a bit disconnected from “where we belong” lately as I watch my kids get older and realize that life does move on and, gulp, change–the phone was just a tangible way for me to keep hold of something familiar.
Or, perhaps this is another one of those parenting moments where I turn a basic situation into some type of life altering experience. When I asked J how he felt about not having a home phone his reply was as deep and meaningful as the statement he made when first learning his phone number. “I didn’t know we still used that,” he said as he worked on his Lego skyscraper. “Did you get new snacks at the store?”
OK, maybe not quite as profound, but it does put things into perspective.