“Dear Lord,” I prayed nightly for years. “Please keep us safe, healthy, and together.”
Safe and healthy made perfect sense. Any new mom, particularly those like me who suffered from a large degree of postpartum depression and anxiety, would be asking the Almighty or the Universe to protect their partners and kiddos from what seemed like MILLIONS of things that are out there posing threats to their very lives. When mine were little, the list of dangers that kept me up at night ranged from a smallpox outbreak (not sure how I would have handled COVID) to an astroid rocketing toward their elementary school.
The together part? Well, I’m pretty sure at the time, I feared that war or zombies could somehow cause a situation where we would all be roaming the Earth searching for each other with no form of communication, surviving on the tiny bit of knowledge we’d gleaned during a few Cub Scout campouts.
But what would that “together” — the one I tossed into my prayers each night — really look like? Would I ever know or have a sense that we’d achieved it? Not sure. It’s probably a moving target. But, here’s what I can say today. And when I say today… I mean as of this very moment. This morning. I came up with this an hour ago.
We are there. We are together. And the evidence is in a family text thread labeled “The Fam.”
Currently, the thread includes me, my husband Steve, our college graduate Noah, and our FSU Senior, Chloe. The content ranges from funny memes, links to movie trailers, pictures of old friends we may have run into, screenshots of congratulatory emails, and a chili recipe. It’s basically an electronic refrigerator where instead of magnets and homework with a big red A+, it’s a selfie of me with my daughter’s best friend from when she was in preschool. And each of these is appropriately “endorsed” by a laughing emoji, a heart, or the occasional question mark.
This family text thread is just that… a thread! Sometimes I feel as if it’s the only thread binding us together when things get hectic.
We have similar text group chats going with extended family, and eventually, we may add new family members to our The Fam thread. For now, though, it’s just the four of us. It feels private, inclusive, tight-knit, and special. It feels like the answer to that prayer I prayed so many years ago. It feels like no matter where the kids’ life journey takes them, near or far, we’ll still have these moments where we can all pause at the same time and laugh at a funny tweet, cry over a fumbled football, and share some news about our day. It doesn’t take the place of being together, and it never should. But it’s something. And today, it feels like an answered prayer.