I ran across this Washington Post article yesterday on Facebook: Parents, can we put down our cameras? In it, a parent writes about watching her child's big moment though a camera preview screen. Saturday, my iPhone conspired with the universe to force me to be present and experience a pretty epic day with my son in person, with no digital proof of the experience on social media. Just memories and stories to share with others. And we survived.
We won tickets to a SuperLeague Minecraft event from LiveMom. Understatement: My son loves Minecraft. He only gets to play during his Saturday screen time, and when his behavior at school goes left, he loses the privilege and has to earn it back. Last week, he needed a stellar weekly progress report in order to play Minecraft and he got one. When I revealed to him on Saturday morning that I was taking him someplace to play Minecraft (he screamed)...with about fifty other kids (he ran and screamed)...on his laptop inside a movie theater on the movie screen, his gleeful screaming and running in circles came to a abrupt stop right in front of where I was sitting. He looked at me stone-faced and said, "Catch me." Then he turned around and pretended to faint on me. I was so happy for him. The night before, I made sure to charge my iPhone, because I was going to get some great pictures for Facebook and Instagram.
After I saw the email that we had won the tickets, I checked my calendar and realized that Zack's first piano recital was scheduled at the same time as the Minecraft event. Fortunately, the piano teacher was cool with penciling Zack in on the already printed program for a later afternoon spot. It was going to make us late for one of his favorite friends' birthday party. Worth it.
Enter The Universe and her conspiracy with my iPhone to force me backwards twenty technology years.
Halfway to the Minecraft event, the my iPhone operating system started to update. I'm pretty sure I must have told it to do that, but it was a total accident. Once an iPhone starts updating, you're not supposed to do anything to interrupt it, but I had an event to get to and no idea how to get to it. I'm married to an Electrical Engineer, who is my technology crutch. I never bother trying to figure out how to work my gadgets, because I live with a computer expert. So in my lack of expertise and in my impatience, I powered off my iPhone assuming it would just end the update and reset to pre-update status. Nope. When my phone powered back up it was a brick. My son was so stressed out in the back seat because he doesn't know a world without GPS and thought we were lost forever. I went into a CVS and asked the clerk for directions. My son was fascinated.
We arrived at the movie theater and there was a meet and greet with video game YouTuber Parker Games. There was a SuperLeague step and repeat covered with event and sponsor logos...perfect digital photo op. The theater is full of mostly young boys with laptops on their laps all buzzing with excitement as their avatars appear and on the giant Minecraft world on the movie screen. Perfect photo op. After the last game ended, Zack ran down to where Parker Games was sitting and talked to him about who knows what for a good while. Perfect photo op. About midway through the event, I let go of my frustration with not being able to take pictures and got into watching Zack and the other kids play Minecraft games. I actually enjoyed it. The Minecraft event was easily one of the top three epic moments in Zack's life, and all we have to show for it is a photo of the event tee shirt that I took at home after we were in for the night and after my phone was restored. It's so random, because the day was over, but I still had to have some digital record for whatever reason.
After that, he changed clothes and we went straight to his piano recital. I knew my husband would be there...with his fully operational iPhone...so it was guaranteed we'd have pics and videos of our son's first ever piano recital. Halfway through his performance my husband's phone runs out of storage space. Half a video. Zero photographs. If we could do it again, I'd much rather go there with no plan to even document it, just so we could be a hundred percent present and soaking up every second of our kid up there and not cloud the experience with even one second of frustrated energy over digital recording devices.
I had recently stopped documenting my lunches out with friends because I wanted to be more present. It hadn't occurred to me to do the same thing for my family time. I am sure I will still photograph irresistible moments, but every outing doesn't require enough footage for a documentary. What every outing with my kid does require is my presence. As a blogger who became a mom five years in, and has been momming all over Austin and sharing it on the Internet for almost eight years, it's going to be a huge adjustment. Worth it.
The older I get, the more I want to pull away from all this Internetting altogether. So maybe this won't be so hard. I'm rambling.