Family, growing up and group texts

Group texts have been taking over my phone. I haven’t gone on a bachelorette party or been in charge of some other occasion that requires planning and coordinating best done by mass-text. I’ve just reached the point when all of my siblings no longer live at home. And that equals group messages galore.

It seemed to happen suddenly. I’ve been living in apartments with various roommates for three years, and my sister moved out nearly a year ago. But the group texts really hit when my brother moved out early last month. And they have been glorious.

There’s a new tree in our parkway after the previous one bit the dust to the Emerald Ash Borer, my mom decides to text my brother, my sister and me. Complete with a picture! I’m glad she did. The yard looked kind of sad with an empty hole where our struggling tree used to be, and it was neat to see the little baby stick planted in its place. Aww, home, I thought.

Which day would you prefer to come over for Father’s Day, my mom group texts us a few days later. Planning. A classic function of the group-text. My brother responds almost immediately with one word. “Sunday.” I reply a few minutes later also expressing a preference for Sunday. My sister, an emergency room nurse, never replies – at least not on the same message string where we all could see it.

And it’ll happen sometime soon: My dad will group-text the entire family about some weather warning or another. He’ll tell us what he heard on the radio or saw on the Weather Channel, and he’ll remind us of seven precautions that are smart but maybe a little farfetched. He’ll tell us to be safe and end the message simply with “Love,” written on a separate line than the rest of the words. Why say, “Love Dad,” I figure he thinks, when the phone already displays that the message came from “Dad” and takes care of it for him. Instead of being alarming, as some weather alerts can be, these Dad reminders are a comfort. Lets us know he’s there thinking and caring about us. As always.

But these days, everything comes by group text. The lighthearted, homey details like the tree. The planning of minor family get-togethers like the Father’s Day gathering, which did end up on a Sunday, after all. The weather warnings. None of us live at home, yet there are plenty of things our parents still want to tell or ask all of us. At once. With technology, the group-text is the clear way to go.

I never realized I’d see so many group texts or enjoy them so much. But it all makes sense. And when your phone is inundated with family communications via group text because your siblings all have launched lives away from home, you know you’ve officially reached adulthood. How to celebrate? Pull out the old phone and type up a note to mom, dad, bro and sis. Make their phones buzz in unison. You know they’d love to hear from you.


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