I love technology. LOVE it. I have a degree in Computer Science, for crying out loud. I run a blog. I’m a digital media manager. I frequently extol the virtues of technology, even for children and families. I live for technology.
But I’m unplugging this Fourth of July.
I’m going up north to visit my brother and his family. I have an awesome niece and nephew who are funny, smart, energetic kids. My nephew is pretty much the same age as daughter and my niece is two years younger than them. Then there’s my one-year-old son. Put all four of them together and it’s explosive. In a good way. In a super cool fireworks kind of way.
When the kids are going nuts, I’m all for an occasional cartoon to chill them out and recenter the kids. Especially when they’re stuck inside all day of when I’m trying to wrangle all of them by myself. Sometimes mommy/auntie just needs a few minutes.
But the Fourth of July is special. It’s a day to celebrate freedom. It’s a day to be excited. It’s a day to run around with fire sticks. It’s a day to grill out, eat too much, and cover tiny faces with gooey s’mores and sweet kisses after dinner. It’s a day to do something you don’t usually do.
So I’m going to unplug. I live with my phone in my pocket. I’m constantly checking my blog’s stats and Pinterest page’s success. I’m networking with other bloggers and submitting content for freelance writing. And, yes, I’m bumming around Facebook and playing games on my phone. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either. I’m totally addicted to my SimCity app.
But for one day, I’m going to be free of it. I’m not going to check Pinterest. I’m not going to look at my blog. I’m not going to play my games or scroll through Pinterest. I may use it to get directions to the park where the fireworks will be or to take pictures of my smudgy chocolate marshmallow faces. I might even put those pictures on Facebook. But that’s it.
I want to be present for my daughter’s improvised Fourth of July song and dance. I want to have a real conversation with my brother and his wife over a cold beer. I want to be there for my baby when my brother’s dog barks and scares him, not wondering where my phone is so I can kill time while he cries. (You’ve done it, too. Admit it.) I want to enjoy cool breezes off of Lake Superior. I want to relax, not worry about finances or housework. Those problems will be there tomorrow. The sheer joy and amazement on my daughter’s face when the fireworks go off won’t be.
Here’s my mantra for the day. Today, I am thankful for my freedom. Today, I will be free.
I’m going to be free from worry, from technological tethers, from digital delight. I am going to embrace the fun of summer. I want to be reminded of the fun that exists without technology.
Say screw it to technology. Be there, for one whole day. Be free.
Happy Fourth of July!