Is there such a thing as being too “connected”? Can we be loved too much? I usually feel like I’m walking the line between having an appropriate level of connection to my extended family and being in each other’s business too much. Since most of us carry a super computer in our pocket, we can instantly connect socially with a myriad of apps. If today’s mantra is “be present”, don’t our phones often prevent us from actually being present with the people in front of us? There must be a concerted effort to put our phones down.
My mother is 85 years old and lives with my 86 year old father and my 65 year old brother. She has been in remission from cancer for a year, but otherwise is in good health. I am the only other one of her four children who still lives in the same state. I talk to my mother several times a day. We just like to stay in touch about what’s going on. I realize this may seem a bit unusual. Then again, it isn’t common to still have both parents at my age (I’m 56). I usually talk to my brother in California a few times a week, too. We also text a lot. I talk to my sister and her daughter semi regularly. Perhaps my family is closer and more connected than average.
I see the contrast to my boyfriend and his family. His mother is 84 and lives with a son. He has 3 brothers and a sister along with many nieces and nephews. They seem to only talk to each other if it’s necessary (as in arranging to get together). He sees me communicating with my family very regularly and maybe it seems strange to him. I wonder if part of the difference is simply cultural.
My father is Italian and my mother is Jewish. I don’t like to stereotype, but aren’t mothers from those two cultures some of the most protective and involved in their adult children’s lives? Much of the conversation with my mother is rather mundane, centered around things like what we had for dinner or what we did that day. I’m acutely aware we won’t have the chance to have these conversations forever. That is a large part of why I call my mother so much; because I can. I love when mom texts me back using emojis. It’s so cute because she is 85.
I’m taking stock of how much connection might be too much. We can all stand to look at our phones a bit less. I still think talking on the phone is a personal way of connecting with our families. It can become a problem if it takes us too far away from those on our actual presence. Keeping the phone on silent is a good way to avoid intrusion by notification. You can deal with whatever it is when you aren’t trying to be present with someone.
My former husband often complained about how often our phone rang from my family calling. He thought it was just too much contact. Today, I struggle to see what the problem is with being close to precious family members.
If your mother is still around, call her.