Introduction

If It’s Not One Thing It’s My Mother

My mother - at the dining room table

If It’s Not One Thing It’s My Mother

My mother - at the dining room table

I’ve just discovered a wonderful new way to connect with my mother – who is 82 years old – and to keep her occupied and busy – at least for an afternoon.

I’m sharing this for those who may feel disconnected from their parents (or grandparents) due to COVID-19. Here’s a great – and fun – way to feel connected.

This revelation occurred over this past weekend because my birthday is coming. My mother asked me, as she does every year, what I would like. To give some context to this question, please note the following:

  • My children are both grown and out of the house
  • I’ve sold the house they grew up in to downsize and
  • My interpretation of another birthday in 2020 is that I’m glad I’m here to celebrate it

As many adults know, birthday gifts get less and less important over time but my mother has started a lovely tradition, which I do appreciate. She’s started to gift some of her family heirlooms or other items she’d like me (and other family members) to have.

So this year, I asked for something she’d like to give away; I thought this might be the best request since, well, she’s home and has time.

I thought about what I’d like to have and hit on the idea of tableware. When we are able to have people over again, it would be nice to have serving pieces. I never really wanted or needed these types of things before but it seems we’ve done a lot more entertaining from home so I could use some nice serving pieces. (Yes, these are most definitely first-world concerns – I am well aware of that.)

That was my request, during our Sunday phone call. “How about a nice serving piece you don’t use, or would like me to have?” I asked. “Why don’t you show me what you’d like to send me and we can talk about it.”

(These are the magic words: “show me.” It’s all you have to do for the fun to begin. I promise.)

Mother: What a great idea! I’ll show you all the things I’d like to send you and you can let me know which you’d like for your birthday.

Me: Perfect! Take a few days to think about it and let me know.

A few minutes later:

Mother: (on the phone) Can you see me?

Me: No. You’re calling me on the phone. I can’t see you.

Mother: We’re on Facetime, aren’t we?

Me: No. I have an Android phone. I can’t do Facetime.

Mother: Oh! Well, how am I going to show you what I want to send?

Me: I can set up a Zoom like we did before and you can show me each piece.

Mother: No, my computer is in the other room. I’ve put the serving pieces on the dining-room table.

Me: Well, we can Zoom on our phones.

Mother: Oh! Ok. How do I do that?

Me: You’ll have to download the app. Before you do that, do you know your password?

Mother: No. I have no idea what my password is. Your father does that. (Sounds of male voice in the distance, explaining something. They start to talk and it’s all garbled sound.)

Mother: Ok. This isn’t going to work. Can I send you pictures?

Me: Sure! Pictures work. That would be great.

Mother: How do I do that? (Sounds of male voice in the distance, yelling “take a picture on your phone, send it to yourself on email, then send the email to her.”)

Me: Yes. That will work.

A few minutes later I receive an email, with detailed explanations of each piece (my mother types very fast). There are five to choose from.

And no photos.

I am about to call when another email arrives with the subject line, “OK I got so excited I forgot to attach the photos…”

Hey, at least she noticed! I shake my head as I realize I’m not nearly as good at noticing when I do this as she is.

The photos are great. I call my mother and we discuss each one: the history of how she got it, whether or not it will work for me, and which ones I’d like. (Please do notice I’m now getting more than one serving piece for my birthday!)

Mission accomplished: mother is totally absorbed and busy, technology challenges surmounted (or circumvented), and I’m getting a GREAT birthday present. Or two. Or three.

If you don’t have enough to do over this next weekend, I recommend you try this with your mother/grandmother. The returns on the time invested are, well, priceless.