“Can you face time me and iMessage me to sometimes please?”
In today’s technology filled world such a text may not seem unusual. But, it was coming from my youngest grandchild, who recently turned seven. For her birthday, she received an iPod Touch. I don’t remember what I received for my seventh birthday. I do know it had nothing to do with technology. It was probably a doll. On second thought, Betsy Wetsy was a big hit at the time so maybe there was some very primitive technology involved.
In an era when having a television in the house was a status symbol, when I was seven, I never thought I would be conversing with my grandchildren on a machine that fit in the palm of my hand. Yet, here we are. Time marches on and so does technology.
One of my grandmothers lived on the next street over. I would run through the neighbor’s yard to watch Lawrence Welk with her on many a Saturday evening. Sitting cross-legged at her feet as she snipped pieces of cloth to make a quilt , I would take each segment dropping it in a paper bag at the side of her chair — fond memories.
Five of my grandchildren, including the youngest, live nearly eight hundred miles away. None of them will come skipping through a neighbor’s yard to visit me. They do text me and FaceTime with me. The three oldest, teens and twenties, are on FaceBook with me along with my two daughters. Technology then becomes a lifeline to the future, a bridge for a long distance relationship. I embrace it, revel in it, welcome it. There are snippets of their lives; my life. And pictures galore.
Technology has its downside. Some complain it is a way of disconnecting with others. Some people seem almost addicted to it, unable to put down the phone or stop texting. It can be expensive, but so were TVs and phones when we were kids. And how many had parents who complained about the time we spent talking on the phone or plopped in front of the TV, forcing time limits to be imposed? Oh, and the cars, riding ‘The Circuit’ in Asbury Park on a Friday night instead of doing something constructive with our teenage time.
Everything has an upside and a downside. As always, life is a balancing act. While technology exposes us to the wider world, there is also a time to shut it off. There is a time to let quiet enter and to just be. Technology is a tool, like money, like the coffeemaker or the electric drill or anything else we use to enhance our lives.
Yes, dear grandchild, I will FaceTime and iMessage you, too, sometimes. I love you bunches and bunches and I love hearing from you and I love that technology makes it possible to instantly see you and talk to you. I love receiving messages that say, “I love you so much and can’t stop saying it. You and popa are right in my heart.” And, you are right in mine.
My youngest son did several college semesters in China. We would often skype with him including video.
I found it strange that it felt like we talked more when he was half way around the world than when he was in the same city. Sometimes technology can bring people closer together.
Oh, Kathy, you touched a chord with this post. I remember well sitting by my Gran’s knee learning how to crochet and knit… I dont have any grandchildren yet, but given one son lives 500 miles away, and the other 11,500 miles away, I will also be a Facetime grandparent!
As for the hours I spent talking to friends on the phone, sitting on the bottom of the stairs in the hall, while my Dad moaned about the phone bill. No mobiles then…
You’re so lucky to have your children and grand-children so close to you through social media! I have two adult son’s; one thousands of miles away, and one moving to an hour away soon. It seems that the telephone is still the most personal means of keeping in touch with us which is great. No grand-children yet and maybe none to come? I remember what I got for my 7th – a beautiful new bicycle – too big for me but I was to grow into it! It was gold with chrome rims!
Great insight. Wonderful writing.
I look forward to Sunday.
Connections & staying connected are good in whatever form they take….savvy grandkids are a boost to techie grandparents…how fortunate you are!
Kathy, I don’t have children or grandchildren, but what keeps me on Facebook is the opportunity it provides to stay in touch with the interests and lives of my nieces and nephews, who range in age from early twenties to almost 50, and all of whom live hundreds or thousands of miles away from me.
Texting back and forth is so good for helping with writing and spelling skills, especially if you don’t use a lot of acronyms. That said, my granddaughter loves emojis.
Life is very different indeed for seven year olds now. My granddaughter and I FaceTime and I feel happy to be able to do this, but I also worry about the excessive amount of time she spends on her iPad. As you say, everything has its upside and downside. When I was on holiday last week the fact that there was no internet connection irritated me. I felt annoyed and almost ashamed at feeling like that. I should be able to manage a week without but am now so used to it. Sad really. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)
Very nice post! I would be very upset without technology as I just got
my first long distance grandchild. Being a long distance Grandma to this new baby boy is challenging and I am so thankful that my
daughter has installed a web cam
that hooks to my computer via google!
I do have a grandson and grand daughter who live only a couple of blocks
away as well, so happy about that!
I am doing everything I can to have as
close of a bond to the far away grandson as I do with the locals! There is hope! And thank goodness for technology!!
Yes, I sure can relate. As a long-distance grandma I adore the fact that technology provides an opportunity to stay in touch so easily! I can’t imagine what it must have been like when there was no FaceTime or text messages and phone calls meant long distance charges. Technology, for all it’s downfalls, is a grandma’s best friend.
We were with limited WiFi the last three weeks and it amazed me how the 20 & 30-somethings moaned about not being connected. As soon as we got to a space that had WiFi they were immediately on their phones, heads down, no conversation with those who were physically with them. To them, (old) virtual connections were more important than (new) physical connections. We ended up interacting only with the (other) 50-70 somethings. And met some amazing, inspiring people! Yes, the new technology has pros and cons.
Yes I read about your safari adventure…fabulous! Sorry to hear in such a beautiful place, some of the younger participants didn’t ditch the technology for a while. When I was at John Campbell Folk School recently, I actually enjoyed the lack of mechanical connections. Glad to hear you chose the face to face connections. Welcome home! K
LikeLiked by 1 person