My youngest daughter turned seven this past weekend, and we celebrated with a pool party and a trip to Lion Country Safari. On the night before her birthday, I went into her bedroom to tuck her in and sat down and asked her to stop aging and to stay six forever. She giggled and told me that she loved me. I then continued our nightly ritual by saying, “I love you more.” And she ended with, “I love you most.” (Yes, this is from Tangled.) The following morning, I woke up, made some coffee, and posted the number 7 as my Facebook status. I also changed my profile picture to a picture of my daughter. And then I closed my laptop and started to get ready for our trip to Lion Country Safari. Those of my Facebook friends who I am closest with understood my status. Most of them had already wished her a happy birthday with a card or a gift or a phone call the previous day. Every year, when my daughters turn a year older, I post their age as my status update. I don’t know why I do it. Maybe it’s just to validate that the day is special to me.
I’ve noticed that other people do something similar that I find a little odd. My Facebook feed is filled with long notes from parents to their young ones, wishing them a great day. Along these lines, I also see personal notes to the deceased. I guess my confusion lies with these sincere posts directed to people who don’t have a Facebook account, either due to age or death. In the same way I try to figure out why I post certain things on Facebook verses other things, I am trying to figure out the nature and rationale of these types of posts. “Happy 6th birthday Jimmy. We love you.” Does six year old Jimmy have a Facebook account already? Is six year old Jimmy away with his grandparents on his birthday, so Facebook is a way to communicate with him while he’s on vacay? Or are these heartfelt sentiments just a way for people to alert their friends that it’s their child’s birthday? But if that’s the case, why not say, “Hey everyone! It’s my son’s birthday today. Show him some Facebook love!” In the death related posts, such as “I miss you so much Aunt Helen. I hope you are looking down at me from heaven”, I’m assuming this is a part of the grieving process for some? Or is it a way to let others know about how sad you are about the person’s death in order to get some sympathy from your friends? As you can see, I don’t quite understand these types of messages. Although I post the ages of my daughters on Facebook, I don’t write to them directly on Facebook because they will never see it. On the other hand, I do have a personal email account for each of my girls. I write to them regularly, and right now, I am the only one with the passwords. I hope to give them the passwords when they get older. But these are personal, non-public letters that I know they will get to read someday. As for the people who post letters addressed to people who do not have Facebook accounts, I sincerely hope that Facebook isn’t a replacement for saying these beautiful words out loud.
Obviously, I find it interesting how people relay messages on Facebook. I’m not trying to be a smart ass (well, maybe a little bit) or an elitist because I post to Facebook all of the time. I guess I would love to delve further into why people, myself included, post what they post and what type of reaction they are specifically looking for. Is it all just an ego boost? Is it part of the so called “Me Generation”? Or is there something more to it? Not that I spend my days wondering about this, but sometimes random things cross my mind. Just wondering if anyone else out there has ever had the same thoughts, or if anyone would like to offer their insight.