Around the breakfast nook we all sit: they arrived at the cottage the night before.
Rays of sunshine, energy, chatting, talking, sharing. We hug and get caught up—we missed each other. The friends they bring are like family to us. Little boys and girls grown into strong men and women now.
Three minutes into the brightness—interrupted. Gone. Ended.
The group suddenly disperses onto different couches, into different rooms, different lives, different worlds.
We try to keep the fun and lightness up, we continue the conversation, try to get the moments back.
Nobody is listening anymore.
If they are, they are half listening.
We keep trying, but the moment is gone.
So we go upstairs and get our own devices even though we have nothing to do on them. We bring them down to the cozy living room and make space on the couch for ourselves under the shared blanket . We get connected to the world outside instead of our own little universe right in front of us.
Alone together, we are.
Some of the best times we have with our teens are sadly when their phones have been removed as a consequence. They laugh more, engage more, connect more. They definitely smile more.
Isn’t it sad that something that fits into the palm of our hand seemingly owns us?
I want it back.
I want my moments back.
We gather around the cove and in the lake. We laugh and share, we pat each other on the backs and celebrate successes. We look each other in the eyes and wink over our shoulders at an inside joke. We share food and comment on its deliciousness, we reminisce about something funny from their childhoods. They get tired and cuddle up next to each other, those brothers and sister. We remark at these three beings we created and how different and grown they seem this summer. We sit and watch in awe the sheer beauty in front of us and feel deep gratitude for it. We nap beside each other wrapped in blankets and all cuddled up the five of us wake up when the sun is about to set and we watch it together, in awe of its beauty, taking in the rays and purple sky. The kids thank us at the end of the day and say it was the best ever.
All this because we insisted they crate their phones for an afternoon.
We weren’t alone together.
We were together, together. The way it is meant to be, the way it was before there were beeps stealing our time and our moments, before the outside world became more important than the inside world of our family.
The impact of that togetherness lasted for a few more days. It lifted us even when we went back to our digital lives—even when we went back to being alone together.
But I held it in my heart and vowed to make it happen much more often. To fight to get our moments back, to be ok with them resisting, to make it worth the battle.
To protect all of those lazy afternoons I will never get back in the same way.
All of them will surely slip away unless I make it my mission to catch them.
I will catch them. I will catch us.