Since the lockdown of NY state was put into place, I have forced my mom to shrink her world down. Basically she is staying in her house, her yard, on the beach or walking around (alone, with dogs or with others social distancing). I picked up groceries for her the other day after much arm twisting. She is used to doing nearly daily runs to the IGA to just “pick up a few things”. Her task on Friday was to think about what she and my sister would eat all week and what she needed (wine). She asked for meat (that was not available), onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots (all a no) and mayo, peanut butter and jelly (yes).
She has been really good about it. I lent her some books to read.
The thing that has made it exceedingly hard with her causing most of the problems revolve around her inability to perform basic online functions. I talked about this with my friend Joe (her other tech support person) and we both think that if she just came at it with a different mindset she might have a different outcome. She seems to always think that she can’t do it and if any little thing does not go exactly right, she is ready to throw in the towel. I wanted to show her how to access our church’s sermon on Sunday from Facebook. I knew that it was right at the top because I posted it and called her immediately. All she had to do was open FB and it would be right at the top. She was telling me that she was seeing dogs and other stuff. It was asking if she wanted to post something. She was ready to give up. I looked on my FB and realized she was on the home page and all she had to do was scroll down. She found the post, opened it and managed to unmute it. Ah. Success. We’ll see what happens this Sunday.
Another problem is that she physically goes to her bank. She does not use her ATM card to access cash from the ATM or to pay for anything. She is wholly cash based. This is problematic. There is no way she would be able to set up her online banking on her own. So I decided that I would do it. And I did. I told her that I can move her money around however she needs.
I wish she would be more adventurous online. Even just to read books or listen to podcasts. She is the only person I know who watches actual TV with commercials and all. She asked me for a book with workouts because our bootcamp class is canceled. But it is too late because I can’t get too close to her. I am her grocery shopper and do not want to be bringing her the virus as well.
This has made me realize how we, me, society, have failed to bring a significant part of our population along into the joy that the digital world can bring. Luckily my mom has my sister and her dogs and the weather (until today) has been kissing spring so she can spend a lot of time outside. I worry about others in my congregation. In the community. I struggle with being home all the time. My son offers much humor and distraction but seeing other friends or participating in a dance party with three thousand people makes a difference. Taking on an online yoga class. Facetiming. She has none of these things. These things. These things that bring me joy. I hope that she is able to fill her days without too much loneliness. And maybe when we can sit closely, I will give her Kindle lessons even if she has no patience. I will make sure to bring mine.