I love my dad and my dad loves me. But I never really knew him until we started texting.
Picture this: It’s 2007, Razr flip phones were the fashionable cell phone (mine was pink), and my father had recently gotten talked into a family cell phone plan with unlimited texting. He announced it with no fanfare: “You can text now,” he texted. That was the first text to light up my cellphone’s screen. I was 19 and thrilled to finally be in modern times.
It’s hard to communicate what a radical change this was. Text messaging, according to my father, was an inefficient (why not just call!) money pit meant to suck the parents’ of teens and tweens dry. Text messaging was another way for kids to get up to no good. Even before the term “dick pic” was in popular use, you just knew my dad thought text messaging was a gateway drug to some bad news activity. But a deal’s a deal, texts were now free, and who was he to turn down a bargain?
Up to that point my father and I didn’t talk too much. He’s a man of few words and very specific interests. I was a teenager of many words and broad interests, mostly around what kind of stuff I wanted to buy at the mall. Plus, I was a girl who had turned into a kind-of-sort-of adult. Our demographics didn’t mesh. There wasn’t animosity. Just a cold understanding that we had nothing to talk about, so why bother? That all changed with the even playing field of text messaging.
Over the last nine years my father and I have exchanged thousands of texts. I screenshot them because I like to be reminded about how far my father and my relationship has come. Here’s a compilation of some texts from the past two years. I love you, #dadtext.