Today we are introducing a new series entitled “It’s The Next Best Thing To Being There”. In it we’ll share stories of ways in which tech lets of make and maintain connections with one another.
After reading Dan’s post yesterday, I wanted to share my own tech moment with everyone.
My grandparents are in their mid-80s. Traveling isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world for them to do anymore. Neither one of them can sit in a car for hours on end. And airplane travel? This is not even an option for my grandmother. Her health issues simply won’t allow for it and her doctor has pretty much forbidden her to do it.
My cousin had just given birth to her first child, Sadie. This is the first great grandchild for my grandmother. My grandmother was in knots trying to find a way to travel to see her. The issue being that my cousin and her family live in Pennsylvania while my grandmother is in Florida. She wanted so desperately to see this little bundle of joy
My mother called me to tell me about all of this. Since this is her mother and she wanted to make her happy, she asked me if there as any “techy” way to do something so she could see Sadie. Enter Yahoo instant messaging and a Logitech web camera.
Now, the hard part of all of this was keeping it a secret from my grandmother. She is a hard person to surprise. And on top of that, she isn’t really computer savvy. Luckily, my grandfather is. (Side bar: I gave him his first PC when he was 72 years old. For his 73rd birthday, he gave it back to me because he had bought something faster. Nowadays he has a Mac mini.)
I took on the task of buying web cameras for everyone in my family who has a computer. This included my cousin, my parents, my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. I didn’t have to worry about microphones or speakers thankfully cause everyone seemed to have their own. Boy were they shocked when UPS dropped by with a package from Amazon. I believe my grandfather’s comment was, ” And what I am I supposed to do with this?”
Luckily for everyone involved, between phone calls, emails, and a visit or two, I was able to get the cameras all set up. And, thanks to LogMeIn, I was able to remote into their desktops (both Mac and PC) and set up Yahoo instant messenger. The hard part was coming up with screen names that everyone liked.
So, everyone was ready. At the designated time, I got my grandmother to sit in front of the computer. I signed her on to Yahoo and enabled the web camera. I saw my cousin sign on a minute later. I initiated a web cam session…and suddenly, there was my cousin holding Ms. Sadie.
My grandmother was in shock at first. And then, she couldn’t stop smiling. She “talked” to Sadie for a while and then to my cousin. When she was done, she turned to me and gave me a big hug.
Technology may not be the answer to all things as people like to think, but its nice when it can make a family smile.