They say if you can put a man on the moon …
Well they did put some men on the moon (about 50 years ago, in fact) and this year, I got my mom on Zoom. Once you finish reading this blog, you decide which feat is more impressive.
I should start by saying, I love my mom more than anything. She’s one of my best friends and my biggest supporter in everything I do. And she did approve the writing, and sharing, of this blog.
My mom’s also big on keeping things neat and organized (I get that from her) but that also entails a lot of purging. And every time she deletes the email notifications with the link to each of my blogposts, she gets really upset that she erased my entire blog. I’ve tried to reassure her, letting her know she can get there without even going to an email. And that what she does in her inbox has no effect whatsoever on my blog website.
It’s actually cute when she marvels at how we can have video chats and see and hear the kids, who are in other states (“through the computer”??? she says in disbelief). And her flip, definitely ‘non-smart’, phone has its obvious limitations.
In short, Mission: Get Mom on Zoom was going to be tough … but I was up for the challenge.
So here’s how it all went down …
Jamie and I were enjoying a brief rare visit with mom in her apartment – social distancing and wearing masks. Not getting within six feet of mom made setting her up on Zoom that much more difficult. And, as Jamie will tell you, the fact that I didn’t … um … quite know what I was doing on my cell phone to launch said meeting didn’t help either.
Jamie was telling me how to get the app on my phone (which I find absolutely painstaking with all the info and new password required, etc.) then invite mom to join. Jamie gets totally frustrated with my own technology ‘challenges’ at times. She especially hates that I’m ‘afraid’ to push buttons or make a mistake … lecturing that there’s nothing I can’t undo. (Caught between a rock and a hard place, my husband often gets frustrated when I’m on the computer with him, saying I’m a ‘random mad clicker’. Sometimes you just can’t win!)
In any case, my Millennial daughter was decidedly losing patience fast with Baby Boomer mom, who wasn’t having all that much patience with computer-challenged ‘Greatest Generation’ mom/grandma. And I was beginning to understand why my tech-savvy kids always feign ignorance and/or run for cover when I seek their computer assistance.
For one thing, my mom was having trouble finding the Zoom invite link … once it finally arrived as an email on her computer. “Go to where you get your email,” I said, but she was still confused, saying, “But that’s not Zoom.” I persevered … ‘The link is in your email!!” I realized then that she didn’t quite know what a link was. Challenge #1.
Then we had to pause while she found her cursor icon (apparently it gets lost frequently). Challenge #2.
We finally got to the link when a dialogue box came up asking for permission to access Zoom and this turned out to be a major roadblock of sorts too … until I just calmly and methodically walked her through the steps, answering seemingly endless questions, dispelling lingering doubts. In some cases, it was just a matter of telling her it was o.k. to just ‘click o.k.’ as prompted.
In all transparency, it didn’t help matters that I couldn’t figure out how to get myself into the meeting. But after much cajoling (groveling and maybe even a bribe, I can’t remember), Jamie got the meeting started on my phone and I was able to go through the process with mom again and actually get her on Zoom … in what I will definitely call our finest (technology) hour!
We did another test run the night before the book club and … success again! This time, my mom had figured out how to adjust the screen so I could see to about her nose … we were making progress.
The night of the book club, my endeavors were rewarded. She was the very first one on the Zoom meeting. Can you imagine how proud I was? The only glitch was when the meeting ended early and the librarian host needed to restart it. Everyone rejoined but mom, who couldn’t quite get back on.
But we were ecstatic and she has even moved on to online bridge games. She’s still worried she deleted the email with the Zoom invite for last month’s library book club meeting but, again, I reassured her there is another invite coming. We’ll be fine.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!