First Family Chat

Human connection is so vital. It is especially so in a time of crisis as we are experiencing today with COVID-19. We joke about people hoarding toilet paper and parents getting a glimpse of what teachers face daily now that schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, but the insidiousness of this virus has elevated the country’s fear level to that of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 


My mother is 87 years old and lives alone. She won’t admit it, but she is afraid. While she is healthy and enjoys her lifestyle, she doesn’t like being isolated from family and friends.


I had planned to take my older son’s boys, ages 4 and 6, to visit mom when the children were off from school for spring break. That’s now impossible, and I am not comfortable driving such a long distance alone during this crisis. Mom is disappointed, but she understands.


My sister arranged a Facebook Messenger chat yesterday for her with our children. Mom’s old tablet does not permit video chatting, so my sister went to her. I could see the joy in mom’s face, and I know she had a grand time. 


I had talked with mom before about updating her tablet, but she said the old one worked “just fine.”  Well, it doesn’t now, so I ordered a new one.  She will have it tomorrow morning! Then comes the task of walking her through setting it up. We will get it connected, and then the geographical distance and the COVID-19 quarantine won’t seen so daunting.


I know mom will enjoy video chatting with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and that makes me happy.  Mom doesn’t need “stuff” at her age, but she needs her family and we need her.  With the craziness we’re experiencing now, video chatting is the best we can do, and that required a new tablet!



Top row, left to right, my two nieces and my daughter, who has an ear infection. Bottom row, my mom (my sister is sitting beside mom off screen), me, and my older son. Not the most flattering picture, but it works! Missing from the photo are my younger son, who was working, and my mom’s 8 great-grandchildren!


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