It must have been at least 6 years since I first told my mother I would help her learn how to use the computer and surf the Net.
But let me tell you a little about my mother first. She is the most wonderful person I know. She has everlasting patience, a very big heart, the ability to empathize with people in need, the generosity to forgive and genuinely forget, not to mention a moral compass that would put a saint to shame. She has managed her home and hearth to perfection, making it a warm and welcoming place for those of us who lived there and for anyone who visited. She is devoted to her home, is rightfully houseproud but startlingly enough, has rarely, if ever, indulged in the kind of neighbourhood gossipping that many woman revel in. Instead, she has channeled her energies into reading, and is up to date with what's going on in the world, new developments in science and healthcare and just about everything else you can think of.
She's almost 60, has never really used a computer in her life, but she can hold her own in a conversation about Facebook's recent invasion-of-privacy troubles, email viruses, child-protection software, and so on. The twenty- and thirty-something women in our apartment complex have openly gaped whenever she's voiced her thoughts on issues they think she's "too old" to know anything about.
We had a computer at home when half the people in the neighbourhood didn't know what a computer was. A few years after I'd married and left home, she thought she would learn more about the Internet. Although I hate to say it, my father didn't let her. And I, despite my best intentions, have not been able to make time to help her learn.
When the new year came around, I took my laptop down to her apartment, and gave her a quick tutorial on how to put it on, get the wireless datacard going, and open websites and bookmarked pages.
She now has her own email ID, along with a customized page for news and topics that interest her, and is getting the hang of how to run a movie DVD on the laptop.
If I can keep up my end of the bargain, I'm pretty sure her name is going to start popping up at least on recipe websites - she's the world's best cook! I'm not saying that because I'm her daughter. Just about every individual who has every had a meal at our house has sung praises and advised her to start cooking classes. She's a whiz with all kinds of cuisine, especially healthy food that tastes yum.
I'm only sorry I didn't start this earlier. I've had that laptop for a year and a half now. Better late than never, I suppose. Watch this space for updates.