Monday, May 23, 2005

Daily Digital Talk

by Christina VanGinkel

Taking photos has evolved greatly since the digital camera has made its way into the average household. I am sure you have heard many reasons why, but I was privy without even realizing it to after the fact, just how much some digital pictures have changed both how and why photos are taken.

My daughter and grandson are working away from home this summer. After having my grandson relatively close by since his birth nearly two years ago, this is quite an adjustment for me, an admitted doting grandmother. What was supposed to be a short trip has taken on a life of its own, and I have taken to telling my daughter to snap photos of him doing whatever. I happily download pictures of him doing everything from playing in the dirt, to visits to sights such as Mt. Rushmore. No task is to minor. Restaurant eating? Yep, grandma would love to see some of the places he has eaten. How about the outside of the hotels? Those work too! Even shots of him at the nearest Wal-Mart will do. Why would I want these mundane photos? Simple really. I rarely print any of them, but by seeing some of the things he is seeing I have a basis to match my phone conversations I have with him daily. His vocabulary is expanding faster than any two year old I have ever known, we get to actually talk on the phone because I am able to ask him pointed questions about what he did that day, and my daughter does not have to be prompting both him and myself on what we are talking about. By aid of the instant access to the digital photos, I am able to keep up a relationship with my grandson even though he is no longer right here.

The photos work both ways. I send him photos of our yard when the wild turkeys are in, of my flowers as they sprout and open, when a surprise rabbit stopped to eat some of those same flowers, and of our dog at sleep and play. My daughter told me he likes to take his pictures, lay them out on the floor, and lay across them, pointing out Nana, Papa, and Uncle. Thanks to the world of digital, we are able to keep up our relationship even though we are separated by hundreds of miles. Now, if I could just figure out how to send a big bear hug digitally, I would not ask for anything else, well, maybe a plane ticket!

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