laura packardMy husband and I are losing our minds.

At the same time.

We recently had a huge coffee table debate. Our old, really rustic cool coffee table from our previous home had disappeared . . . probably in the move.

My husband accused me of giving it away like I apparently do with all of our other worldly possessions. I accused him of always accusing me of just about everything. This went on for days. Until, we both reached down for our coffee cups in the den the other morning – at the same time – and realized the blessed slab of wood was sitting right in front of us.

All this time.

Well, even if our memories are not too long for this world, at least we’re in sync. Only it seems a little disconcerting because who will help with the children?

Then it dawned on us, and this was most disconcerting of all, the kids don’t need a lot of help. They are way smarter than us.

Now, growing up, we had the public library and a few dozen leather-bound spines on our living room shelves to guide us. Our kids have literally, and figuratively, the world at their fingertips. It’s mind blowing really, when you think about it.

Our problem though, now, is that along with the internet, routers, ring tone and smart phones, there is also totally new vernacular to go along with all of this new technology. There are vines, gigabits, drones, pokes and pixels.

It seems we need a translator. So I’m here to tell you what I have learned so far. Hope it helps:


Percentage Advantage:

(From the Urban Dictionary) The deciding factor of who gets the car phone charger. The lower battery power always gets the charging port first.

As in: Hand over the charger quick before my phones goes dead! At 5 percent battery I got the percentage advantage on you guys.

Now, if your family is anything like ours, there’s always one who seems to need the PA because they never seem to charge their phone. Ever. Right, Liv? I admit. I usually come in a close second.


The 21st Century Family Meeting:

Long gone are the days of everyone showing up around the kitchen table or the family hearth of yore. These days a family meeting will only take place in one room . . . the room where the Wi-Fi router is located.

As in, in order to have everyone together, and PRESENT, one must go to the room where the Wi-Fi router sits, unplug it and wait there.


Off the Grid:

I used to think this meant turning your phone off and tuning into what’s going on around you. That just doesn’t happen anymore so if you want something to stay private, please do it off the grid.

As in, disable iCloud, please. I don’t want 50 pictures of cute kittens and unicorns riding rainbows on my photo stream, but that’s just me.

Also, parents, for those of you who still like to send a naughty picture or two (Charlie and I are past that stage seeing as we can’t even find a table that’s sitting in front of us) need to do so off grid. I’ve had friends whose junior has seen dad’s, well . . . (use your imagination) on the iPad and do not have a ready explanation for how it got there – after he’s shown it to all his friends.


Stream Blockade:

This happens in our house all the time and is probably the underlying cause of all fighting. Getting stream blocked means when after a long, crazy week, you’ve finally logged onto Netflix to catch up on House of Cards with a glass of Cab, then someone decides to starting streaming Once Upon a Time from one room and an On Demand movie marathon from the other. This leaves you with a glass of wine, yes, but total silence as you sip and stare at a black screen with a little circle going round and round.

“Your meeting is not my meeting” comes in at a close second for causing intense aggravation. As in, when my husband’s busy day keeps popping up on my phone screen every minute, freaking me out, thinking I should be somewhere when I really shouldn’t. We may be losing our minds at the same time but that doesn’t mean our calendars have to be in sync.

Still, we must keep all of this in perspective as our beloved and recently departed Mr. Spock reminds us, “Change is the essential process of all existence.” So is living long and prospering.

So, yes, we should embrace all this new technology instead of being stumped by it. And yes, our kids are way smarter and could teach us a thing or two about change and knowledge.

But as my other favorite deep thinker, Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Luckily, it looks like Charlie and I still have a lot to teach our girls to guide them gracefully to adulthood.

We’re looking forward to it.

As soon as we find our car keys . . .