Beyond The Norm-Mel

The power of technology helps unite families

My family is celebrating the birth of the first grandchild. We were all a little surprised to hear that little Dennis Andrew Browning was born last Friday night just before midnight (Eastern Standard time).

My brother and sister-in-law, who live on the East Coast, decided not to worry anyone so they didn't tell us that Angie went into labor.

The newborn, my first ever nephew, missed being born on my birthday by mere hours, but that is OK. He can have his own day. His arrival so close to my birthday was present enough.

My family has had, well, nine months to prepare for little Denny's arrival and now that he's here they've gone a little crazy. My parents have entered hyper-grandparent mode. They receive regular e-mails of photographs and video clips.

The other night we all sat around the speaker phone waiting to hear Denny's cry pierce our ears for the first time. His parents un-bundled him, which he doesn't like, and we heard a little squeak of a cry.

Mom and I have decided, based on his cry, that he must have the personality of his mother. His father had a bellow that could rival a freight train. Most people who have known my brother his entire life remember his cry and remind him of it often.

It's amazing that the power of technology allows us to keep in such close contact with family. I can't imagine what it was like for pioneers who left everything to settle wildlands. Very few pictures were taken, the postal system at the time was unreliable and traveling across the country to visit family was virtually unheard of.

Besides that, even if a letter was sent, grandparents were not able to hear the voice of their grandchildren over the miles or able to see their first steps, through the power of video.

With all of the technology negatives, there are a positives that are rewarding. Who would have thought it would have gone this far?

There have been vast improvements in technology from when I was first learning computers in the fourth grade on a Commodore 64.

. Melissa Dekker can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail


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