Monday, August 27, 2012

My confession and explanation of Facebook stalking my kids... and their friends...

So Steve has strongly encouraged me to write a blog.  He's just looking out for me.  He loves me.  In fact last night as I lay in bed, with sleep eluding me, I marveled at his love for me.  We've been married 19 years and he still makes me feel beautiful and witty and wise.  I'm not trying to brag but I am married to a stud pilot with stunning blue eyes that sparkle with humor more often than not.  He just gets better with age.

That being said life lately has been somewhat challenging.  My latest challenges being that I have become a facebook stalker trolling the profiles of my kids (and I must admit, sheepishly, also their friends) for any photos or comments that shed a bit of light of their far away life in Cameroon.  This is the third year we have taken them to a foreign country and moved them into a home and then either driven or flown away.  It still seems crazy to me.  I love the people my kids have become.  They are funny and wise and kind and love Jesus.  Part of the journey from there to here has been this sending our kids off to school in a foreign land and in the midst of all the changes and challenges God has been God and loved them in a uniquely personal way for each of my kids transforming them into the people they are now and are becoming.

After getting over the shock that my kids can in fact survive and even thrive without my constant presence in their day to day.  And what a shock it was, glad they are thriving but a bit grieved and humbled that their need of me is on the less and less end of things.  It's ultimately what parenting is all about right?  Working yourself out of a job...  But early retiring from full-time to part-time is challenging, thus enters the facebook stalking.

I know it's got creepy written all over it but let me explain before you judge me so harshly!  So my kids LIVE in another country, and the internet is sketchy and slow and since they've been away we haven't been able to skype.  Our main form of communication is facebook chat.  Oh how I've come to love that little green dot next to my kids names indicating that they are online live!  My heart jumps up within me and my fingers twitch and start tapping out an overly exuberant greeting.  Then I wait with my heart in my throat for a reply.  Moments pass... painfully... as I steel myself for the disappointment of the false green dot or worse the internet cutting out at that precise moment.  Then I see a little message that says something like, "seen at 4:27" and I glance at the time realizing that they've just received my chat.  Oh joy!  Then I see the message, "Megan is typing" and I can hardly believe in just moments I will receive precious words from my daughter.  Then nothing happens, the message disappears and I am left with nothing.  Curses facebook chat!  I lather up to a furious frustration when a sound rings out and the little chat box flashes with the new message from my beloved!  She has said "Hi".  I am over the moon with gladness at the glowing screen.  Truly.  It's the highlight of my day.  (I've used Megan in this example, it could be any of my three darlings that cause these heart palpitations of glee.)  And for a few moments we have a back and forth dialogue and I hear a bit of her day and before I am nearly ready she types out, "gotta go mom, dinner bell, homework, etc, love you and I'll give you more details tomorrow."  ... And like that she is gone and the green dot accompanying her name is gone as well.

So this is when the real stalking begins... I look at other profiles seeing if anyone has posted pics or statuses about life at RFIS and I've even been known to chat with a friend of my kids just to, you know, say hi and work in something about one of my kids just to get any fresh information.  It's sick, I know.  Sometimes I have to just walk away.  I don't want to be the scary stalker mom of FB.  I don't want to freak out my kids friends and have them report back to my kids that their mom has yet again chatted with them asking lame questions about how their day went at school.  My background in youth ministry doesn't help as I am quite fond of teens and miss hanging out with them in general, which when you aren't in active youth ministry can actually come across as really creepy.  I promise I'm not really creepy in real life.  Ask anyone... except maybe my kids and my kids friends... shudder.

So I am trying to be less facebook stalker and more facebook walker-away.  I am missing my kids so completely.  I thought it would get easier with time but I am just as devastated each time I say goodbye.  I mourn the loss again.  The only solace I have is that they are thriving and have great friends and are growing spiritually and physically and emotionally and educationally and I have the teachers and staff and students of RFIS and the hostel parents (past and present) and kids of UBAC hostel to thank for their love and care of my kids.  Joe, Megan and Sam are truly God's kids first and He provides mightily for them, generously and lovingly.  I am overwhelmed by gratitude in the midst of missing my kids.  I guess that is the testimony of God's presence in my life and in the lives of my kids and their friends. So please don't judge me too harshly when you see the little green dot next to my name on FB chat, feel free to say hi, it just might make my day!

p.s.  I wonder if the joy I feel at receiving fresh messages from my kids can compare to the joy our Father feels when we (His children) pray genuine prayers communicating the details of our day, just to keep Him in the loop and express our love and appreciation for all He does and Is for us?  It reminds me of the time when I prayed for answers about a specific situation for months and was met with silence until one day God whispered in my heart the gentle reminder, "Seek Me alone, not just My answers." Perhaps God has allowed me to experience this time to draw near to Him and know that He wants to dialogue with me and hear about my day and all it's silly details in vivid color.

4 comments:

Mrs. Green said...

I think that what you are doing is normal--just hoping for more insight into your kids daily lives. I'd say, just limit your stalking to a few minutes a day, but rejoice when your kids have a roommate who loves to take and post photos or when a dorm parent tags your kid.... Don't feel guilty for being normal!

Georgia Evearitt said...

Wonderful blog, and what a wonderful gift you are giving your children--the gift of putting them in God's hands and trusting Him to teach, guide, comfort, protect--all the Mom stuff.
Still, the relinquishing is hard work, especially to the Mom who takes her job seriously and loves both the job and the kids!
I am in a similar season of life, with kids grown up, families and lives of their own. I love to hear the tone that indicates that I have a text message, or the ring tone that tells me they are calling. They have grown up to be wise and witty and thoughtful and kind and I love spending time with them--and yes, I miss them!
But in the void, I, like you, am hearing the gentle voice of the Savior: "The void is of your own making, I have come to give you life--abundantly, no voids, no lacks. Let Me fill the space." And, slowly, I am learning to do just that. Oh, I still miss the kids, but now when I see them, or talk to them it is all the richer.
Still with lots to learn,
Georgia Evearitt

Quinn said...

You're completely normal! I do the same thing with my favorite friends (since I have not yet come to have kids... and won't anytime soon). However, there are certain people I get a little too excited about seeing online on facebook chat. PS. Mom's never work themselves out of a job! Distance definitely does something to deepen the relationship in my own experience.

Liliane Bettencourt said...

Explain why you are expressing your thanks In your Appreciation Messages to Friends.

Appreciation Messages to Friends