face time


For a thousand reasons, Brooke is not a fan of the telephone. Although we’ve now managed to log a handful of successful conversations over the years, the most likely outcome of a phone call is still something like this …

“Hi, Mama.”

“Hi, Brooke! How are you?”

“Gotta go now, bye.”

Although that last sentence usually sounds more like “Gottagonowbye.”

Not being able to talk to Brooke on the telephone has always made being away from home even harder than it might have been otherwise. Katie and I would talk, rambling on (and on) about our respective days … and what we ate for dinner and what we were doing the next day and how much we missed each other and what we would do as soon as I got home … and then, when it was time, she’d hand the phone off to Brooke who would say, “Gottagonowbye.”

And I understood completely. The phone is hard. Really hard. For so many reasons. So it was what it was.

Since the phone wasn’t really viable, I’d make Luau promise to tell her how much I loved her, how much I missed her. I’d leave notes for him to read to her at breakfast and bedtime that included bits of her favorite scripts and a countdown to when I’d be back.

And then, thanks to technology, everything changed.

Last night, I got back to my hotel at eight o’clock — nine at home. I texted Luau to let him know that I was back. He asked if I wanted to say goodnight to the girls. And that’s when this happened ..


Brooke was hanging out on the heating grate, as you do, watching videos on her iPad before bed. And I got to hang out with her. And then she showed the video she was watching to me.


And then we laughed. Together.


And suddenly, being halfway across the country, in a hotel room a time zone away, wasn’t really so far anymore.

Thank you, Steve Jobs. A ding in the universe, indeed.

14 thoughts on “face time

  1. Jess, I know exactly how you feel. Last spring Jeff initiated facetiming us. We were absolutely thrilled!! Of course he does not speak and sometimes he has a “creepy” face on but most of the time he is using his own sign language to check in on his upcoming dates! He has now expanded and face times LOTS of people! I agree…thank you Steve Jobs!!!

  2. My 12 year old doesn’t like the phone, either. But, she hates EVEN worse anything that projects a picture of someone she knows, like when I am on television or, sadly, FaceTime. One of our ongoing debates is whether she is old enough to stay at home without a sitter. She thinks she is, and so we have been experimenting with allowing her to do so in smallish, but gradually increasing increments. However, before we would entertain the idea of leaving her alone, she had to show us that she would use the phone. She had to answer if Caller ID showed specific numbers AND she had to call at specified times. A HUGE breakthrough (to me) was when she called for no reason other than to tell me that her jeas were too tight and could she change clothes. I mention this only because, between the ages of 11-12, independence became VERY important to our daughter. And, the ability to communicate via phone is the trade-off to getting there. I am amazed at how Brooke communicates via text and email, so I would venture to say that the phone will find its way into her repertoire over time.

  3. Ain’t technology grand? Being of a different generation, I sometimes feel such frustration with these new fangled machines… and then THIS! This is a gift from God. Its made me happy.

  4. It’s interesting, this difference between voice calling and video calling. I feel much less apprehension about Skype than I do about phone calls, but I’m pretty sure this is because I only have a handful of very trusted people on Skype. I felt far more anxious about the Skype sound when I could still get calls from people I was only friends with, not SAFE friends with. I’ve learnt how to deal with phones, and can even answer phones as a fairly big part of my job. But if I analyse how I feel about picking up the phone and seeing it’s my mum calling, or seeing the Skype warning for my mum calling, I definitely prefer Skype. It might simply be that I have not yet learnt to feel anxious about Skype the way I’ve come to feel anxious about the phone. Maybe this would change if everyone, every acquaintance, every company, was able to Skype me.

  5. it’s great that, all along, she had her preferred communication style…she was just patiently waiting for technology to provide her with it. Just another bit of proof: people on the spectrum are not shut down, closed off…there are all kinds of ways to connect if you look in the right places.

  6. My boy would LIVE on the heater grate if he could! He does now, at almost 13, do a fairly good job of talking on the phone…but only to a select number of people, his most-beloved uncle among them. Everyone else gets monosyllables. Facetime is awesome; my son only sees my mom and stepdad once every year or two, but they are so close because they get to Facetime together…while he sits on the heater grate. 🙂

  7. I can relate with one of my two sons. We found Skype to be wonderful when my husband recently went on an overseas work trip and it sure caught my son Damian’s attention when my husband started playing around with the back and foregrounds (such as when he made it look like he was in a rocket flying out to space). Damian looked forward to my husband calling every night after that 🙂

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