Before leaving home, my phone history with my parents was sparse, to say the least. Most texts between my mom and I were of the “come home now” variety, with a few “don’t stay out too late” and “where are you?” messages thrown in for good measure.
Now that I’m thousands of miles away, of course I’m texting my parents more; it wouldn’t have taken a genius to predict that. But as a high schooler, I would never have guessed just how often I would find myself, in college, reaching for the phone to contact my mom. It was only from scrolling through our recent messages that I fully realized just how much my texting habits have changed.
When I say that I’ve been texting my mom all the time, it’s not an exaggeration. All the way in Texas, my mom’s phone buzzes multiple times a day throughout the day with mini updates from her daughter in Boston, periodically punctuated by a call.
It’s not that I’m constantly bothering my mom because I struggle to be independent, peppering her for common-sense answers. Though I’ve asked my fair share of questions related to cooking or laundry, and while I’m sure some of my inquiries have made her facepalm, mostly my messages are tiny snapshots of my life away from home.
The weather is beautiful? I text my mom. I made a mediocre omelet for breakfast? I take a quick picture for her. Nothing happened all day? I send an emoji anyway.
I’ve been doing it with friends back home, too. We’ll send random pictures of our outfits, text about failing at a new recipe, or update each other on a cute dog that just walked by. Spending hours together every day in high school, we used to know countless trivial details of each other’s lives; now, we manage to stay connected by sharing a handful of those minute details over text.
Moving to a big city, where I’m surrounded by millions of strangers, I sometimes find myself feeling small. The iced coffee I got today, the movie I watched last night, whether or not I did well on a math test — none of these matter at all to the hundreds of people passing by when I sit in the park. In the long run, they’re not even that important to me; but for the moment, they’re the bits and pieces that make up my daily life. It’s nice to know that there are people who care about those bits and pieces, whether it be a parent or childhood friend.
Sharing those tidbits, albeit random and trivial, help bridge the distance between me and the people I love back home. It also makes the world a little less daunting, knowing that I have someone in my corner — or, quite literally, in my pocket, just a text message away.