“Grandmothering Here and Now” by Patricia Cavanaugh

I have a new grandson who will be a year old in a few weeks.   During the last year I have happily been to visit him almost monthly.  I also have granddaughters, who because they live in France, I sadly I see them less frequently.

Since the birth of my first grandchild over 10 years ago, the advancement in communication technology has been wonderful.  The connections are made with ease.  The tools and programs have improved to such an extent that a luddite such as myself find the process simplified and intuitive. What has made my particular experience so different with my grandson is my iPad 2 and Face Time.

My daughter and I  make a Face Time appointment once or twice a week.   I can see how excited my grandson is to see me.  He comes right up to the screen and tries to grab me.  I have been really surprised at the level of ease he has with this technology. We, in our 3rd Act are not internet natives with virtual communication tools.  Many of us still struggle with the language and systems.  My grandson was born an indigenous participant able to soak in the new cyberspace vocabulary as easily as he learns his native language or accepts the iPad 2 as if it was a game of “hide and seek”. It seems as natural to him as it seems foreign to me.    I found myself a little held back at first.   I couldn’t quite get the hang of the right positioning or angle for the best iPad viewing.  But now I see what a difference it has made in our relationship.  When I come to visit, there is no initial shyness.  He just leaps into my arms and my heart fills with joy.

In the 3rd act stage of our lives, it is critical to maintain contact with family and friends. The more connections we make and grow the happier we will be when we age. These new technology advances like Face Time, Skype or Facebook give us the opportunity to stay involved with family and friends even though we may live on different continents.  Now, my French family has an iPad 2 and we can talk regularly as well.  How wonderful to see them in their ordinary lives not just on special holidays and vacations.

Recently…I know I am very late …I signed up for Facebook limiting it just to family and close friends.  Now, I can not only stay connected in real time via Face Time, I can see what everyone is doing on just one screen and my friends and family can see what is happening in my life as well.

I have been so grateful to the new ways of connecting with my family that I decided to listen to the Steve Jobs biography on my iPhone audible books app.  I am fascinated by his challenging life and the passion and purpose he brought to the technology revolution.  Steve was determined to make beautiful, easy, seamless devices that everyone would benefit from using.    I am grateful for his tenacity and vision I am certainly benefiting from them.

How has technology helped you stay connected?  We would love to hear from you.

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