The pandemic created unwelcomed inconveniences and unexpected opportunity. Our son works for a tech company on the west coast. Because it is easier and cheaper for two versus five, my husband and I try to fly out to visit them 3 or 4 times a year. When the pandemic hit, I wondered when we would ever see them again.

March of 2020, all employees where our son works were instructed work from home. By mid-summer 2020, the company announced people would be working from home until August of 2021. When their schools announced all learning would occur on-line for the 2020 / 21 school year, our son and daughter-in-law looked at each other and thought, ‘Yikes! All five of us cooped-up in the house for who knows how long?’

So, they traded their SUV for a truck, bought a fifth wheel, and made plans to travel across the U.S. They would travel from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back again, visiting over 38 national parks and -most importantly – Nana and Pop Pop!

Technology Made This Possible                                                                                                                                                                                      Technology made this possible for them. Technology has also provided me an opportunity to spend meaningful time with my granddaughters. Facetime is an excellent tool for my older granddaughter and me. Addy Bug, who is eleven, and I have read a couple children’s novels together. There aren’t any pictures and it’s more important that we see each other’s faces.

I was looking for a way to read with my younger granddaughters. I had a few books that were in the 3 to 6-year-old range, and my granddaughters were allowed a limited number of books in the fifth wheel. Furthermore, reading with them on FaceTime was less rewarding because one side or the other could not easily see the book that we were reading.

Readeo Children’s On-line Library                                                                                                                                                                              That’s when I discovered Readeo, a children’s online library. It’s like Zoom for kids but with an extensive library of books for children from 0 – 12 years of age. My granddaughters can see me. I can see them, and everyone can see and turn the pages of the book. Lilly Pickles (6-years-old), Lollipop (4), and I (not revealing my age), have had a standing appointment for reading on Fridays ever since they started on their great adventure. More importantly we had access to an unlimited number of books! New titles are added on a regular basis. And the variety of titles provide an opportunity to explore many topics and interests from science and history to emotions and lifestyles.

We read together for an hour or more. Sometimes they read. Sometimes I do. They like to choose books to read. There are, of course favorite books that must be read every time. I like to suggest things they might not normally gravitate to and help them expand their reading repertoire. Our favorite part of reading a new book is the opportunity to rate the book. We discuss what we liked about the book, the story, the characters, the pictures and then give it 1 to five stars based, in part, on the likelihood of our desire to read this book again.

Experiencing the Moment                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks to Readeo, I got to experience the moment when our youngest granddaughter had an epiphany. It was one of those ah-ha moments where she suddenly realized I was her father’s mother, and that Nana was another name for grandmother. The look on her face was priceless! I am so glad I could be present for that moment.

Opportunity Created                                                                                                                                                                                                      When the pandemic started, I had no idea when I would see out grandchildren again. Instead, it created an opportunity for our grandchildren to come to Nana’s house and share in the magic of family. Now – if technology could just find a way to slow down time. Am I asking too much?