Monday, October 15, 2007

I Am My Mother, With Google

I just did it again. I clicked on the URL of the Jezebel post on Lourdes Ciccone, cut and pasted it into an email, and sent the email off to M with the subject line "skinny jeans!"

Hacking into M's email account (is it hacking if you know her password, and she knows that you regularly look over her shoulder while she emails?), I see that in the last few weeks, I have sent her two online boggle games, two videos, an article about tweens online, and a blog about making cool stuff out of Ikea products. And that's only what she's saved in her inbox.

Yes, where my mother once sent me a steady stream of clippings in the mail, I now forward M a steady stream of emails, websites, articles, and blog posts. And it's not just M (which means maybe my mom sent those clippings to other people too??). I send them to my sister, S, my friends, and even my mother, though she has ridiculous difficulties trying to open links, despite my patient tutorials (my mother is not a technological laggard, she can manipulate listservs and email with the best of them, but in the battle of Mom vs. computer, computer definitely has an edge).

Is there a point here? Beyond the like-mother-like-daughter thing, and the how-technology-transforms-our-everyday-pursuits thing? Hmm, let me try to formulate one. There is something, at the very least in our family, about communicating through culture, about the medium of the clipping or the link serving as a means of affirming shared interests, or at least an embrace of what interests the other. It's a way of establishing intimacy: you may not be here right now, but I know what you like, and I'm thinking of you, and I'm sending you this because I know you will like it and because I love you (it can happen by phone too: yesterday I called my mom to tell her about a headline I knew she hadn't seen). Yes, the clipping and the link, they are not just information, but affection.

Honestly, the clippings sometimes used to annoy me (sorry, Mom). The blizzard of paper, and what do you do with a clipping once you've read it? That seems like a question with an obvious answer: you throw it out, just like you throw out the newspaper (OK, put it in the recycling). But now I see why I couldn't just throw them out: because they were proof that my mother loved me, not that I needed proof, but you certainly don't want to throw it out!

So I'm glad that M keeps my emails in her inbox. And I'll redouble my efforts to help my mom open her links. And if you feel like sending this blog post along, well, feel free.


Jenny Davidson said...

Interesting. I only send links back and forth with my dad, not my mom--my mom is not an information-gatherer that way, my dad and I both are... Having a blog is an efficient way of handling the impulse to tell other people about interesting things, eh?!?

Libby said...

My mother-in-law sends clippings (still); every so often a big envelope arrives full of random stuff, often pictures from the local paper, etc. My mother has recently taken up sending along links, mostly from the NYTimes (including, recently, the one on the rare disease that Mark happens to have). My dad has always sent clippings, links, letters, whatever. We all communicate textually, but my mother doesn't write as much as my dad.

I send that stuff on as well, but not as much as my mother...because I think my daughter can find it for herself? Hmm...

landismom said...

Interesting. My daughter is not yet old enough to have her own email account, but I can see this happening in a few years.