HOME PLACE - All I want for Christmas is a little face time with kids

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Can I just say something? The more ways I have to communicate with my children, the less I am able to communicate with my children.

Technology has allowed my adult kids to ignore me in multiple formats.

I say to my 34-year-old son, "Why do you never pick up the phone when I call?"

He says, "You don't text me."

What? Why would I spend 15 minutes trading misspelled words back and forth when I just want to ask him if my package arrived?

Here's how that looks:

Me -- U got pkg?

Son -- ?

Me -- Did pkg I snt arive?

Son -- IDK.

Me -- Cn u cll me?

Son -- No. @ wrk rt now.

He apparently can text all he wants at work but can't call his mother? And, um, he works at a cell phone company ... how hard would it be to disguise a quick phone call? It would take me 15 seconds to have the conversation by phone instead of pecking away at miniscule keys. Maybe cursing while I'm at it.

Besides, he doesn't answers texts, either.

Somewhere I read of a great idea to get a response in cases such as these. Get a card. Write something like this: "Hey, just wanted you to know I am thinking about you. Take this ten-spot and buy lunch on me."

Fail to enclose a ten- or any other spot. Once they get the card, that's when the phone will ring.

Then there's Skype. I love Skype. I use it a lot to talk to my Portland-based daughters. If you're unfamiliar with the technology, Skype is Internet phone with video. My laptop camera shows me to them and vice versa.

It's the best thing ever. I can see so much of their lives, like the new rug in the living room or the beautiful sky outside a dorm window. At our house, we like to try and fool Cap'n Jack that his big sister is sitting right there. Either he doesn't perceive in 2D or he's even smarter than I thought.

However, the thing about Skype is that I can tell when someone's attention has wandered. Here I am, launching into a story about this guy who practically ran me over on the ice in the parking lot and there she is, her eyes dropped to the bottom of the screen.

Tap tappity tap, I hear.

"Honey, are you listening?"

"Yes, Mom."

"But you're typing something."

"I'm sorry, but my friend just came online."

Here comes the peal of laughter from something funny the interloper just wrote on Facebook and there goes any hope of more conversation.

But Christmas is coming and I am going to be sitting face-to-face with some of these people. Not Facebook-to-Facebook.

No computer screen, only a fireplace screen. No lap tops, just laps. No texting, only fingers used for dispensing little shoulder squeezes and reaching for a mug of hot cocoa.

That's what I'll tell them I want for Christmas -- No YouTube, just you.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom or by calling 509-526-8322

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