When I decided to join Facebook, my daughters didn't seem too delighted. As a matter of fact, they had been discouraging me from entering into this unknown-to-me-world, primarily because: "It's for young people, mom!" I resisted for some time. I told my daughters that if I did join Facebook, it was o.k. if they didn't want to be my “friend”. I wanted them to continue to feel perfectly free to share their innermost feelings with their “friends” without their mom looking on. I mean, seriously! However, when my girlfriend moved across the country and told me that Facebook was the best way for her to stay in touch, I took the plunge.
Unfortunately, both of my daughters were away at college, so I couldn't ask them to help me set it up. I was determined, however. I forged ahead. I put on my reading glasses. That helped right away. Amazingly, I actually figured it out by myself. I have yet to understand how one adds photos and all of the necessary accoutrements, but I decided that there is time for all of that later. After all, I was now a member! Part of the elite club. I watched and waited. The anticipation built. How many friends would I make, anyway? Ten? Twenty? Or ...dare I even dream? Fifty?!? Wait. Did I even have any friends besides my girlfriend who moved to Arizona? It's not as if I've been a great correspondent over the years.
And then it happened. I made a friend. And then another. And before I knew it, I made more. And more. Facebook is kind of like a fungus. It just grows and grows. I began to enter names from my past. A few of them emerged. Most of them allowed me into their Facebook world. The ones who didn’t probably knew I wasn’t ready. I made more friends in a week than I had made in the last ten years.
I should have been suspicious right then and there. I should have seen it coming. But I was too excited counting my new friends! Twenty five, twenty six… eighty! And then, there it was. A message from …my dad. OMG! He is eighty years old, and I love him to death. He still rides a bike almost everyday. And he doesn’t just ride around the block, kids. Oh no. He rides fifty to sixty miles each time he goes out. He puts most of us to shame. But being the amazing father that he is, he didn’t just open a Facebook account which I apparently invited him to do. He posted pictures. OF HIS KIDS!!!
Suddenly, there I am in front of all of my new friends in a bathing suit, wearing no make-up, my hair slicked back, scowling at my precious nephew as I was trying to teach him to dive into a pool last summer. Apparently I hadn’t had Botox in a while, either. I texted my daughters for advice. They told me that now I knew how they felt. Oh what a tangled web we weave! I knew the ball was in my court.
I emailed my dad. “Hi Dad! How are you? I see that you are on Facebook. Cool! Would you please remove the picture of me by the pool in my bathing suit with no make-up, my hair slicked back, scowling at John as I was trying to teach him to dive? Love, Jennifer.” He removed the picture.
I haven’t actually talked to him since then. Oh, we’ve emailed. But we didn’t mention “the photo.” So, I wonder. Is Facebook a good thing for me? For my dad? Or would we have been better off just leaving it to whom it was first intended: The cool young people that my daughters are, that I once was, that my father perhaps still thinks I am. I suppose time will tell. In the meantime, I now have ninety nine friends, and if you think I’m stopping now honey, you just don’t know me at all!