I feel like I used to be a very thoughtful, present person. I seldom was distracted when talking with my friends and family. 

I consistently practiced mindfulness and scoffed at the mothers at the park who were absorbed with their phones instead of playing with their children.

I do not scoff anymore.

My son was born prematurely and spent the first several months of his life at the NICU in the hospital.

Just weeks before his birth, my husband harangued me into finally getting smartphones. 

I had resisted mightily, denied their value, and absurdly protested that alphanumeric texting was really no big deal.

Nonetheless, my early technology adapter husband had had enough of my resistance, and smartphones we purchased.

Thank goodness. That smartphone was my lifeline to the world.

I maintained a blog of our experience, messaged with friends near and far, and read the entire Hunger Games trilogy on that phone during our hospital stay. 

It helped me stay connected, reminded me of the world outside the hospital walls, and kept me occupied during the long days and nights we spent in isolation from the world.

As we came home from the hospital, my son, Danny, was too fragile and immune-compromised to go out.

I am fairly certain he did not leave our bedroom for months. That meant more long days.

More isolation. More time connecting through the phone.

As he has grown, we have been able to get out and live fairly unencumbered. While we have needed feeding pumps and he has had the routine illnesses, not much as slowed us down. 

However, my dependence on the smartphone has remained.

The tables have turned, and now my husband is the one stashing my phone away and has commented repeatedly on my level of distraction when we speak.

I do not want this. I want to be fully present. I want to fully engage with Danny and my family without distraction.

But there is this odd draw to the world on my phone.

For one, it is a meaningful way to engage with other people who are living a similar life as us. 

We do not know many people in our personal lives that have children with disabilities, and I find great strength in reading and learning about other people’s lives.

Also, I left my job to stay home with Danny. Much of the only non-toddler interaction I have is through the phone.

I have engaged in education and disability advocacy and participate extensively through email and social media.

It has become a true extension of my “real” life, and I cannot imagine my life without it.

However, with all good things, there must be a balance. 

My true priority is my son and my family, and I do not want to lose perspective on that because I am busily signing petitions or crafting an email to my congressman.

I must find a way to participate in my activism without it taking away from our needs as a family.

When I truly evaluate what brings me happiness, it is the unfettered joy of focusing on my child and my family.

Our nature walks, our baking muffins and our quality play time are the highlights of my day. 

We will go to the library. Just let me check this email first.

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