For the next few weeks my two teenagers are with their dad and my contact with them is primarily digital. Unfortunately, I can't get Nick or Katie interested in ‘Skype-ing’ with me except when we 'chat’ virtually with their cousins who live in England. We take turns walking laptops around our houses, pointing them at children lounging in bed, or aiming it at the new pet — delighted with our free international communication. I love seeing that my sister’s house is messier than mine…
My teens favor different forms of twenty-first century communication. Nick is a Facebook addict, even though he scoffs at it on occasion. (I occasionally catch him online at 1 AM since he let me be his Facebook ‘friend'...) Katie is a cell phone texter. She once had to reimburse me $80 for going over our cell phone texting limit.
The digital world lessens the impact of my commuting life style, helping me feel a little more 'in touch' with my teenagers. But I have my digital limits, since using technology to communicate reminds me of how much I miss being physically near my children. Despite my technical weariness, though, today I got trained by digital journalist J. A. Ginsburg on how to use Twitter. I am finishing a seven-year documentary project on southern Louisiana and getting media inquiries from the BP oil spill. I understand that I need to be more ‘progressive’ in how I make my version of this story visible, even if the New York Times recommends banning the word “tweet.”
Katie turns fifteen this summer and is starting to be affected by our 'Victoria Secret' media environment. But fortunately she doesn’t seem too focused on body issues. She loves cooking good food with friends and watching Top Chef when she isn't studying. The goal right now is exercise. Katie and I both want to get in better shape this summer. We found simple exercises online to do at home. When we aren’t together, we text each other to remind, support and communicate with the other when we’re ready to do our workout. In fact, she’s urging me to start those “butt” exercises now...
(You can tweet me at longdistanceliz)