Wednesday, December 5, 2007

cutting the cord

I forgot my cell phone today and it's not driving me crazy. All those years spent in the office while my kids were at home or school or god knows where, my cell was essential to my peace of mind. On days I forgot it, I hightailed home to retrieve it, or if I couldn't, serial-dialed myself every fifteen minutes to make sure there was no message from school or the sitter or a kid in need. Before there were cell phones (remember?), I carried a beeper. I’d worked out a system with the sitter: if it was an emergency, she’d punch in 6666, if it was something not urgent, 7777. (After the butterfingered sitter, our subsequent nannies proved blissfully reliable--further trips to ER occurred only while my husband or I was on duty.)

Now, my kids are at colleges hundreds of miles away. Of course, I think of them often and worry about their wellbeing, but for the first time in 21 years, I am not on call. If something should happen, they must rely on more proximate systems of support which I trust (hope) are in place for them.

This realization is, of course, freeing. But, as I pat the pocket where my cellphone should be, I touch on the existence of a greater loss. Which may explain the sudden lure of community, as pointed out by a reader who kindly commented on my last post.

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