Nothing says “Summer” like my seasonal obsession with my Mail Carrier, as I anxiously await word from my kids at overnight camp. Each day, I’m consumed with thoughts about whether mail will come and what it will say. How much fun are they having? How much they love and miss me? Maybe my son will send me another rock or my daughter will make me a bracelet? I just want mail…I’m going through serious withdrawal and I need my kid fix.
I know that I’m not alone in this. I know lots of Mommies out there who are experiencing what I am. How do I know? Social media of course! With a bit more (okay, a lot more) time on my hands, I’ve become perhaps too well acquainted with my Facebook page. Now, I love pics as much as anyone. I enjoy browsing through people’s cottage weekends and trips to Europe; I don’t even mind the pictures of wine and food (but if I’m being completely honest, the food ones kind of annoy me).
Now that we’re done with the pictures of duffel bags and kids boarding buses, my Facebook page seems to be inundated with pictures of kids’ letters. Yes, I smile when I see the cute handwriting or the misspelled words, or even the messages that your kids are writing you but hold on….they’re writing to YOU! They’re not writing to me or your 500 plus “nearest and dearest.” I’m pretty sure that your children aren’t asking ME to send them up more bug spray and I’m fairly certain that they’re not missing and loving ME.
So what’s up with that? Why do Moms feel compelled to post their kids’ letters for all to read? Is the art of letter writing so dead that we’ve forgotten the intent of letter reading? I know that my kids would be mortified if I posted their letters on Facebook or any other public forum. While the letters and their messages are cute, funny, and maybe don’t seem so private and confidential to us, maybe they are to the writers of these letters. Have we bothered to ask them?
I get it, I really do. We miss our kids like crazy and we’re on a high when we get a letter. Our first inclination in this euphoric state may be to share our joy. I’ve done it too. When my son fist went to camp a few years ago, and I got that much anticipated first letter, my reaction was as follows: open, read, snap, post. I’m not shaming or blaming anyone for their posts, but we need to step back and look at this from another perspective. Either ask yourselves if this is something your kids would be okay with or better yet, ask your kids if they’re ok with it.
Some kids, including my own, may surprise you and tell you that this is a complete invasion of their privacy. While my kids didn’t use those words exactly, it’s exactly what they meant, and that’s enough for me to keep their letters off of social media. I’m not promising however, that a copy of my son’s latest letter won’t be sent along with a concerned letter from me to his Language Arts teacher from last year, but alas, that’s another topic entirely!