Two words: “Just landed!”
This is the most recent text I’ve received from my twenty-one year old son who is in Europe with friends. Every mother knows the joy that comes with seeing such a text appear on their phone when their college-age child is traveling. Those two words can provide such comfort in knowing your child has arrived at his destination safely.
Or how about “thank you” as you wait to find out if your son received his most recent care package? Those two words let you know he’s likely enjoying the treats you sent and that you can dispose of the tracking slip. “Thank you” is also the text my son sends his grandparents who mail him a bit of spending money each month while he is away at college. These two simple words let them know he appreciates their support.
One of my favorite two word combinations has to be “miss you” which can cause me to beam for nearly a day when they arrive from my son. It’s not so much that I find joy in my son missing me, but that he took time to type those particular two words when guys are so often discouraged from showing their vulnerability.
Here’s another combo I like seeing in text: “really good,” particularly as a response to my question about how his day has gone. It’s not much of a response, but it tells me he is doing well and that I have some good news to look forward to when we finally have the chance to talk.
Texts like “watch this” and “read this” are sent when my son is excited about a recent lecture he’s heard or when he has come across a poem that he just has to share. These two word texts delight me as they give me insight into what my adult child finds interesting, uplifting, or entertaining.
How about “can’t wait” as a response to my question about whether he is looking forward to coming home for a visit? I savor those two words for the entire week before he arrives. Or even two words like “looks awesome” as a response to my sharing a picture with him of something I’ve cooked that I think he would like. A “good idea” text can validate a suggestion I’ve made and allow me to hang on to a remnant of my role as motherly advisor.
If you had asked me three years ago before my son went to college if I would have enjoyed two word texts as much as I do now, I would have rolled my eyes and scoffed. I would have thought that mothers are entitled to far more than simple two-word texts. But something in me has changed.
I appreciate now that as a college student, a volunteer, a part-time employee, a friend, a musician, a fraternity member, and a son, this person I raised is busy and challenged and taking in all that life has to offer. I know that two words afford me a glimpse into those new roles he has taken on. They provide me with an insight into his adult life and those two words, well, they serve as the thread that binds us. Two words can tell me he has taken the time from his schedule to maintain our bond despite his adult status and all that he has to juggle.
What’s my all-time favorite two-word text? It has to be “love you.” I could see those two words a million times over and never tire of them appearing on my phone. Who doesn’t like those two words?
You might think from all this talk about texting that my son and I don’t often talk. You would be right. We don’t get to chat every day. I don’t get to ask him “how was your day?” as he climbs the stairs to his bedroom after school. When I do get to talk to him for more than an hour at a time, our conversations are a potpourri of updates, shared concerns about the world, musings on music, history, art and travel, and reflections on relationships, finances, health and wellness. I have learned over time the difference between these two words: quality and quantity. The quality of our conversations has improved as my son matures and experiences more of the world. The quantity may not be there, but the quality of our conversations makes up for it.
And my two words to those of you who might wince at the incredible brevity of these texts. “It’s enough.” Two words can be enough to reassure us, to enlighten us, and to keep us connected. Advice about those two word texts? Savor them. Save them. Love them.
Lesha Dalton is a logophile, mother, wife, assistant principal, seeker of new definitions, and devoted old-fashioned letter writer. While she is an avid traveler, Lesha still works in the same school district she was born and educated in as a child in San Antonio, Texas. Lesha is the proud parent of one MIT student, a community college freshman, and a high school senior. When she isn’t in school, she can be found reading, spending time with family and friends, decorating, boating, and other healthy forms of shenanigans.