In Texting Hell….Hello? Living With A Teen At My Age!

      OMG. At my age I am texting a teenager with regularity! My fingers can’t hit the right letters on the pad of my Droid, so I’ve learned to use the speakers and dictate my messages. Unfortunately, Droid does not speak the same English I do. My text messages have said more weird things than I care to admit!

     How did I land in texting hell? Simple. I now live with a teenager. At age sixty-four, I am a host mother to a high school foreign exchange student from Italy. I’ve never had my own kids, and for that matter, my friends didn’t have kids either. I’ve been in a void about teens my entire life. Now I am taking a crash course.

     “Remember when you were in school?” A well-meaning mom with her own teen asked over a group dinner. I got to sit at the adult table. I was the oldest adult there.

     “Things have changed since I was a teen!”

      Boy howdy. I didn’t have much freedom. We didn’t have cell phones, or any of today’s technology that the kids are covered with now. I had to sneak phone calls to boys when my parents were watching TV. In fact, I don’t remember much of my teen years, except by today’s definitions, I was probably a nerd.

I was raised when you wrote letters to relatives, sent postcards on vacation, and, if lucky, got to use the home phone.

      No, my letters were not sent Pony Express! They went through the US mail. I am not that old.

      My point is a simple one. I now live with a teenager, age seventeen, and my life is in constant upheaval.

      I love it. She is a joy. I am discovering what I missed by not having children. I have the best of both worlds. Her parents raised her to be smart, independent, and thoughtful. I reap those benefits for the year she is here. I count my blessings every day I volunteered to be a host parent for the foreign exchange program she signed up for.

     Texting? I’m learning. It is the way kids keep in touch. I’ve laughed over scenes in movies, especially one of my favorite movies with Meryl Streep, “It’s Complicated”. Her young daughter is moving away from home, as family members try to say goodbye to her, she is texting in the car to her friends. John Krasinski, who plays Meryl’s soon to be son-in-law, motions with his hands, like he is texting and says, “None of this, it’s not safe.” Or words similar.

     Adorable scene. True to life.

     My student texts in the car when I drive. She is not allowed to drive in the states per the program she is on. And I say amen to that rule. She texts at breakfast. She texts all her friends all the time. Then she texts me, while I am driving, and my panic in not being able to text her back, while I am in traffoc, is only surpassed by my rising blood pressure that she keeps texting me wondering why I haven’t replied.

     Mum, where are you? She texted me three times on my way to pick her up at school. She wanted to leave with friends and needed my permission. Driving down the road, construction all around me as they were digging up the streets with huge machines, I finally had to pull in to the shopping center.

    “I was driving and couldn’t text.” Exasperated I hit the speaker and yelled my words into the phone.

My Droid came back with something that did not make sense.

      After deleting that message, I tried again. This time calmer.

      Have fun. Be home by six.

      Delivered and responded to with a Thanks Mum.

      I grew up when you used the phone to call. So simple to say what you needed to say, and if there was a question, it was resolved during the call. Texting goes on and on trying to make the same point.

But it is the way of the world with teens today. I am on board. My student answered my last text message with ?????. She had no clue what I had texted. I went in to look at my text and Droid had misunderstood me again.

     My dog Bertha is still learning manners. I crate her when someone comes in the house. I spoke into my Droid the simple phrase, I’m putting Bertha in her crate. My student was on her way home. My text went out with some catchy phrase about birthdays.

     Who knew Droid was dumber than I am?

     I had to text someone myself at breakfast. I put Droid in front of my face, clicked the speaker icon on the text page, and spoke into the phone.

     “You talk into the phone?” My teen was impressed and surprised. Her fingers fly a across her phone, texting none stop. “Now I understand why you sound so funny. Ahahahaha!”

     Yes, laugh all you want. I may be in texting hell, but I am in teen heaven!

     It is never to late to be the mom you thought you could be, if only for a short while!

Barbara Barth, CEO of Life


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