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Posts tagged ‘Siri’

Leave your Father’s Day message at the beep

For Mother’s Day, I wrote a post comparing mothers to Siri, the at-your-service, voice-activated concierge on the iPhone 4. Yes, perhaps there was a touch of the martyr in it, but it was Mother’s Day, I was celebrating myself. And now I’d like to celebrate the Dads.

If Siri is Mom, I thought, then which gadget is dear old Dad? I think he’s a beeper. Or maybe a really old-model cell phone.

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...

Mobile phone evolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a Saturday morning at our house. There’s yours truly, dashing around like a nut, breaking up fights while I’m brushing my teeth, cleaning up spills, chucking fresh sippy cups of milk at people. Doesn’t matter who. Old Siri’s a bit frazzled; she may lose it. She might drop her signal. These newfangled devices, they tend to go on the fritz every now and again. Where’s Dad?

Dad? He’s around here somewhere. Page him. Da-ad! Dad? Dad? Have you taken out the recycling? It’s full. Siri has detected a broken screen as a potential safety hazard for the past 14 weeks. Have you fixed the screen? Not yet.

There he is. He’s pottering around. No doubt he’s doing something important. He’ll be here in a minute. As with a beeper, you call in your message, he hears the harried ping! and when he’s ready, he’ll get back to you. It may take him a while. He may have some other stuff to Google, er, get around to first, but he will respond to the beep.

Eventually, the screen gets fixed. The recycling gets taken out. The CDs that you asked him to organize in 2004? They may or may not get sorted out. But today, Dad, that’s all right. Because though we – I – might stomp, and fuss, and get annoyed in the middle of those hectic moments that constitute life with small children, we know – I know – you will always answer our calls.

Household tasks are ephemera. To-do lists get torn up, or deleted from our screens, as we constantly move on to the next thing. But for every moment that matters, Dad is there. For teaching C to ride a bike. For reading to T. For family dinners, for Easter egg hunts, to dry tears, to end tantrums. To take rambunctious children to the playground and bring sleepy ones home again. To find a binky in the middle of the night, to carry a sick child to bed.

Maybe beepers are not built to immediately respond to your every need, like an iPhone. Maybe old cell phones can’t book doctor’s appointments while looking up the capital of Belgium and a recipe for Swiss chard pie. But old-model beepers and phones, like Dads, are indestructable. You can drop them on concrete, in the toilet, or down in disgust, but they always revive themselves, don’t they? Dads like ours may get as frazzled as Siri in the fray, but they always come out at the end smiling, grateful for their families, unshaken in their devotion to them. I feel sometimes like I might shatter if someone throws one more meatball at the wall. But I can’t count how many hectic days have started with cold coffee and ended with hair askew, a glass of wine, and C and T’s Dad reminding me how lucky we are to have those boys.

Happy Father’s Day. To my Dad, to C and T’s uncles, my father-in-law, and to my friends who are Dads. To all Dads. But above all, to my husband, who I thank for his patience and resilience. You are a great Dad. But here is one final message to you: if you think you can pull out this post the next time I ask you to organize those CDs, you are incorrect, sir!

Bringing a tired boy home.

Siri, wish me a happy Mother’s Day

Often, from when I get up in the morning, I feel like Siri, the talking assistant on the iPhone. I don’t have a Siri myself, but I know what she is like from those commercials in which celebrities playfully bark orders at her, and she ruefully complies. I like to think I hear a bit of exasperation in her voice (Really, Zooey Deschanel? You have to order out for tomato soup? But now you have to dance around while your apartment is a disaster?).

In my role as family Siri, I am called upon to provide immediate answers to an endless stream questions and requests. For example, from my husband: “What is the weather going to be today?” (Answer: Let me check my phone while muttering, “Who am I, Al Roker?”). “Can you remind me to do such-and-such?” (Answer: a Nagging Alarm has been set for 3pm today). From the preschooler: “Can you play me my favorite song?” I comply, queuing up “Game of Pricks” by Guided by Voices (I know – and yes, I checked, Robert Pollard is not referring to THAT kind of prick – that’s part of my responsibilities as Siri). “Can you play it again? And again?” Yes, at least it’s not some annoying song from Wow Wow Wubbzy or whatever. “How many miles away is the moon?” (Dunno. It’s far. I’ll check.) I am a 3D Siri so I can also locate shoes and lost toys, get food, drop off at school…yes, I’m saying that being a mom is not unlike being Siri. You don’t need a Siri to tell you that.

Sometimes, especially before I’ve had enough coffee, I get a little miffed at my Siri status. You know, stuff like, “Can I finish chewing/dressing/ANYTHING AT ALL before I attend to your pressing requests?” These boys – my two sons and their dear old dad – need a lot from me, and right away. It’s a sprint from one end of the day to the other, and it’s often hard to find time to do anything but help them and care for them. And when you clean up crumbs, say, only for another mess to be made a minute later, or when you end one time-out just to start another, for exactly the same reason, you can feel a bit like Sisyphus, pushing a huge rock up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again.

But, mostly, I remember that the sisyphean aspects of motherhood are only such in the short-term: long days of going back and forth on swings, back and forth to a messy kitchen, to the supermarket, to a rumpled bed, to a grumpy child, add up, in the long term, to a life of happiness. A growing family, a widening circle of friends, vivid new experiences, dozens of new memories daily. And it passes by so fast.

I got an early Mother’s Day present from C yesterday, that he brought home from preschool – it was a really cute little necklace (pictured), with turquoise beads, which he knows I like. One of the beads is a little star. “I put the star on there,” he said, “because it’s a lucky star. Because I am lucky to have you and you are lucky to have me.”

So, always, I am grateful that these lovely boys, all three of them, trust me and love me enough to let me be their Siri, their Sirius, their lucky star, their guide to their everyday lives. And I want them to know, on Mother’s Day weekend, that I love them for it. C, C, and T, you are all my lucky stars. Even though sometimes I might pretend not to hear you when you are asking for something really random. Sometimes you’ve got let old Siri have a bit of space.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, and mother figures, everywhere!

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