Parenting in the Digital Age

Thursday, April 21, 2016
If you follow me on Facebook you might remember the brilliance I was struck with a few weeks ago. I was upstairs cleaning the kitchen and listening to my beloved podcasts --but the fact that I'd asked my children to clean the basement a good 3 or 4 times and it still hadn't happened was really chapping my hide. (hyde?--I've never said that phrase out loud before but I'm just going to roll with it right now).

P and Z were downstairs watching Netflix via our Chromecast, (the little Google device that will stream anything from the internet onto your television) sitting amidst piles of blocks, Legos, Hot Wheels, and who knows what else. And that's when the idea came to me. The mommy heavens opened and showered me with pure inspiration.

I pulled out my phone, made a quick video, uploaded it to YouTube, and cast it from my phone down to the basement television.

Guys, it totally worked. I paused what they were watching, flashed my snazzy face up on the screen instead, and poked my head around the corner to see how they would react. Zoë stood up immediately and began putting her blocks back in their bag and looking at the TV in total amazement (and fear). Also, I blink a lot.

I headed back up to the kitchen and made sure to replay the video a few more times. Eventually, Zoë joined me in the kitchen, laughing and talking about her silly mom on the TV and Peter stayed down in the basement cleaning and farting around.

But the point of this post, surprisingly, isn't just to brag about my Youtube/crazy mom/lazy mom skills, it's to tell you what happened next. I decided to continue playing family videos from my Youtube channel onto the television for Peter. Specifically, I played all the Lucy videos I have uploaded. He was down there for a good 10-15 minutes while Zoë colored on the floor and I swept.

Before long, I heard Peter coming up the stairs. He entered the kitchen, heading straight for me with tears STREAMING down his face.

"What is it?? What's wrong?", I said.

"It's like she was right there! I felt like I could reach into the TV and get her. She was so real. I miss her."

Then he buried his head in my lap and continued to cry.

I'm not kidding. It was the sweetest thing. These were genuine tears of sadness. Like he was mourning for the first time the death of the sister he never met.

I started to cry as I held him, stroking his head and telling him that yes, she was very real. And she will always be his big sister.

Almost all of the other angel moms I've met since Lucy died had other children to care for and grieve with and worry over after their child died. I always wondered what it would be like to still have to get up in the morning and care for your living children when you yourself felt like dying. I especially wondered what it would be like to see your living children suffer at the loss and separation from one of their siblings. Grief on top of grief.

I got a small taste of it that day with Peter and it did 2 things at once to me. It broke new splintering and painful pathways in my heart, but it filled and healed older broken passages. To see the longing on Peter's face and hear of his love for his sister--it was jaw-dropping and astounding.

I just realized that the insanely awesome idea I had to create that silly mom video may have had two purposes. I'm thankful I got my clean basement out of those little shitlins, but I'm far more grateful that it led to such an incredible bonding experience with me and my son...and my little Lucy.


  1. So sweet. What a blessing to have had this experience.

  2. OH man, wish I had videos of my baby (born died in 1978), I'm so happy you had this experience. Wonderful !

  3. Peter is such a beautiful soul. The bonds of siblings are strong, even though she is there and he is here. I have a firm belief that we knew each other...our loved ones, our parents, our spouses, our children, our siblings, our friends...before we came here. We will know them when we see them again in the life hereafter. It makes sense that he knows her and loves his Lucy girl here on earth. Her influence and love is with him always...and with you. I love this post.

  4. Awww... Such a tender experience with Peter. I often look at Noelle & wonder how long it will take her to "get it" - that she really dies have a brother, and that he is in heaven. We watch a lot of pictures of Link. But the videos are still the most heart-wrenching. Love you!

  5. Wow. What a great example of eternal families. I hope I always remember this. And your video idea was BRILLIANT!


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