Mom and the iPhone


Well, my 83-year-old mother got an iPhone Friday….I really don’t know why. She is not computer savvy at all… In fact, there isn’t a computer in her house and she’s never used one. She calls my iPhone that “thing” I’m always on. She used to have a simple cell phone (a little more elaborate than a Jitter Bug, but simple). She would never have it with her, much less on. She might call you from it, but if you didn’t pick up, she would turn it off, so of course you couldn’t call her back on it. She lost it and so just canceled the service. That’s been about a year ago. All of a sudden she decided she needed a cell phone again. This time I was thinking about the Jitter Bug, but no, “I want one I can text and get pictures on,” she said.

A little background. Mom and dad both had cell phones. Dad was always adamant about turning them off and charging them. They just didn’t get the concept that they had to be on to receive calls. Mom about had an anxiety attack when she found out I cancelled my landline.

“How will I get in touch with you?”
“Mom,” I said, “just call my cell phone.”
“What if you don’t have it on?”
“Mom, it’s always on.”

Her face screwed up like she had just sucked a lemon.

Mom is in great health and gets around fine.  And let me tell you, she has no qualms about saying what’s on her mind anymore. “I’m old, I can say what I want.”  She started getting irritated that she was always the last to know anything because we were all texting and emailing each other. Mention Facebook to her and she just shakes her head…”oh that face thing.”

So I got the bright idea two Christmas’ ago to get her a tablet. My brother, sister and I went in on it together. Let’s just say, I wish I had a picture of her when she opened it. We got the lemon-pucker face again and she said, “What is this?” That’s as about as far as it went. I tried to teach her how to use it. Thought it would be relatively easy since it was touch screen. When I told her to put her cursor in the box, her reply was, “My what?” That’s when I knew this was not going to be good. She really had no concept of the internet or how to use it. I said she could download and read books on it. She said, “I will not, I like my books.” (I have to agree with her on that). And no way was she going to put her credit card number in there. She couldn’t remember how to get into the email, and I won’t even go into the whole password thing. So, the tablet collects dust on a shelf under an end table.

So here we are. Mom with an iPhone. I tried to call her on it Saturday. No answer. I called the landline. Yes, she had heard the phone and had tried to answer it but apparently didn’t push the right thing. Here we go… “Just be patient with me. It’s a lot for me to learn.” Yes, it is mom. But she seemed calm. Maybe she will stick with this time.  We have to be patient too.

I got a text from her today:

“I’m practicing”
“Very good! Did you get the picture I sent?” I replied immediately.
“See, I can send you more when I’m on my trip.”

I’m thinking she’s done this on her own. Good for you mom! Then I get a text from my sister. Mom was with her.

“This phone is about to give her a nervous breakdown. She said she played with it last night and went to bed with an anxiety attack. She has to get used to it. She said this was it for her as far as technology is concerned.”

“Why the anxiety?” I asked.

“She’s just not used to it and her patience is not there. She has to persevere.”

“I’m afraid it will be tablet all over again. I’ll send her pictures when I’m on my trip and maybe that will entice her to use it.” My wishful-thinking anyway.

I called her iPhone on my way home from work. She answered!!!

“So you’re figuring this out now,” I said.

“Well, no not really.  Whatever.” (She likes using that word a lot). “It gave me an anxiety attack last night.”


“I just get frustrated with it. I just went to bed. Whatever.”

“Well mom, don’t give up. You’ll catch on.”

“Really? Whatever you say,” she replied.

Mom wrote off technology before, but like the rest of us, she wants to be included.  I hope she does persevere.  I think it would give her a huge boost of confidence.  More importantly though, she would feel more relevant and apart of this world we now live in. Like it or not mom!  Besides, I can only imagine some of the texts I might get … With auto correct fully engaged…


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