Why type when a :) does the trick?

This month marks the one-year mark for my mother and her first iPhone. She reluctantly joined the smartphone ranks when her full-keyboard cellphone, which we chose together because she’s a “serious texter,” gave out.  The person at the cell phone store got Mom up and running on her blue iPhone 5c, but she saved her real questions for my sister and I, who would be home soon for Thanksgiving.

Sure enough, shortly after we’d unpacked our suitcases, Mom called us back to her bedroom, where her iPhone was charging. As I focused on having Mom learn by doing, patiently instructing her on how to text a picture or compose a new email, my sister practically grabbed the iPhone out of our hands. “Wait, you are going to love this.”

She tapped through menus too quickly for my mother to follow. “There,” my sister said. “Now you have a keyboard full of smiley faces.” I rolled my eyes.

It turns out that turning my mom onto emojis is pretty much the best thing to happen to any communication, anywhere. The woman who has always loved to send a well-timed greeting card now has a whole new avenue on which she expresses herself, and she basically has been off to the races ever since that fateful day in November.

When ever I need some cheering up, I scroll through our text history and review her various ways of “just checking in.”

For instance, if I’m about to take a long plane ride:


Or if we’re reading the same sad book:


Or if I’m home with the flu:




Mom has managed to find an emoji for every occasion. She digs up the ones I never knew existed (,) and has co-opted others (,) as per personal brand. And, as far as I know, she has never used the .

So, Mom: !

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