So I'm not so much a phone person anymore. Ask anyone who knows me. I used do a lot of chipping away at my time talking on the phone. I used to start my day talking on the phone, punctuate my hours with phone calls, end my days saying to someone on the other end of the line, "I need to get to bed."
Then there was mostly dead silence from my end, save for that occasional and inevitable, "Help me. Help me! I just spent the last half hour listening to my son scream at the occupational therapist, and now I'm jummmmppppping offfff thisssssss clifffffffff."
Read: My son was diagnosed with autism and my phone world went virtually silent, and my time as a woman with any free time disappeared as well.
Most of my phone conversations then happened when I had a few minutes driving here or there. Not the best way to stay connected with those you love. There are now exactly three people who hear my voice on a daily basis over the phone. Three. And it's because they called me through that time no matter what. Whether I'd picked up the phone to talk to them for 10 straight days, they understood and took on the responsibility to keep us connected. That and they truly love Seth and the rest of my family, so it was important to them. And they knew that my not having time anymore to sit and chat didn't mean I didn't care about them.
As time and circumstances moved on and I found myself digging out from the bottom of being a special-needs mom, I also found that people I spent a lot of time talking to had moved on, as well. Some have let me reconnect in other ways, some have decided not so fast, there, Miss dropped-me-like-a-hot-potato-when-life-got-crazy.
So I've entered a new era of communication that works well for me, my circumstances and my daily life. I am able to instantaneously "talk" to more friends than I ever did with my voice; they lend unbelievable amounts of support, wisdom, caring and uplifting words, unmatched humor, and - that's right - companionship.
I know some say that their Blackberry being attached to them is a hindrance in their daily life. Well, mine gave me back some semblance of a life. Without it, along with my laptop, I'd be back a couple of years ago feeling isolated and alone, but unable to be with anyone because of the circumstances of my son's autism.
He's doing amazing, I'm doing amazing - and we both feed off of the other one's happiness. So make fun of me and my precious Blackberry if you want, but it's given me back the friends who were at the end of that dark tunnel waving - and waiting for me; and connects me very quickly to the ones who never left and still stick by me.
This all has more significance than I first thought, because I've had to do the same thing once again. Our 10-year-old was diagnosed with a mood disorder last fall, and once again we find ourselves having to circle the wagons and pull in. We are again making our way through another diagnosis - learning what it means, how to deal with it, find and implement what works best for him.
I've had to stop being gone, for the most part, in the evenings because this is his worst time. I've had to pull out of several activities that are very important to me and am missing seeing friends who mean the world to me. Time will tell how it will play out this time, but I've got technology on my side this time - that and some experience.