I recently posted a photo of a mug that Laura bought me for Christmas that reads “Dad, established 2019”. I put no caption on the post, but just let it speak for itself. A friend later asked me in person, “Hey I didn’t know you all were expecting. When are you due?” When I told him “April 18th”, he looked a bit confused and asked, “Wow that’s soon. Did I miss the announcement?” For me that was an open opportunity (and admittedly a bit of a setup), because Laura and I had this discussion long ago, even before we found out she was pregnant. Our stated goal is to not become a social media family.
Let me pause and say that I’m in no way trying to degrade those who post pictures of their children three times per day, every day. (It is ironic though, in this age of cyber vigilance, that we freely display hundreds of images of our children for all the internet to collect.) But have we considered how that starts to de-personalize our most beloved moments? Sharing memories gets caught up in the social media tide, a rush to get something posted just for the sake of getting something posted or accumulating likes. You may argue, “This is the only way some of my relatives or friends will see these photos.” Really? It wasn’t too long ago that we would send photos in the mail to relatives who lived half-way across the country, or maybe just call them to share how we were all doing. We would also make it a point to go out of our way to drive to someone’s house just to visit them. Call it old-fashioned or obsolete, but nevertheless it worked. No, there are other ways, better ways, ways that build that which is more important than our posts: Relationships.
So when my friend asked me that question, I had to be honest. No, we didn’t post an announcement, and that was on purpose. We wanted to tell people as we saw them, in person. We wanted to see the surprise and joy on their faces, like I saw on his face. We wanted to make that a small moment that strengthened the bond with those we love. We wanted to do what people used to do. And let me tell you, the excitement that flows from those moments feels more genuine and refreshing when it hasn’t already been blasted to all 639 of my Facebook friends. It’s intentionally personal, and it seems they appreciate it all the more.
True, I did post that picture, but by that point Laura was already 6 months pregnant. We had told most everyone around us and every friend we randomly ran into. I knew it would eventually pop up on the socials somewhere, plus I knew I wouldn’t be able to get around to everyone in time or in the way I wanted to, so I just threw it out there and watched the reaction. But the point is we didn’t rely on that. It wasn’t our first thought. Our goal was to tell people personally, to share our hearts and lives with them in a way that can’t be achieved by clicking “like” on a photo. We want our child to know that we don’t live our lives in a digital world, but in a real one, with real people and real relationships that deserve our very best investment. This is the preface of the story we hope to write for our child. Actually, we’re not the authors, but just characters in the same story.