On Saturday I was waiting in line to pay for a bagel sandwich behind a mother and her two young daughters. The older daughter, probably about 10 years old, fiddled with her Sidekick phone. The younger one twirled around her mother, singing softly and pulling on her mother's t-shirt for balance. The mother took out her iPhone; her wallpaper picture was a professional shot taken of her daughters. She opened an e-mail invite to "Julia's 8th Birthday Party" (the font was large and pink). She turned to her younger daughter.
"Kaylee, you just got invited to Julia's party." Kaylee paused briefly and then resumed twirling. "It's on Thursday at Battery Park so you're going to have to miss gymnastics." The older daughter looked up from her Sidekick, suddenly interested. Kaylee frowned.
The mom typed a response to the e-mail: "Kaylee will be there! She already has a present picked out for Julia!"
These same conversations happened 15 years ago, and they'll still be happening 15 years from now. The details may differ -- a tattered Roald Dahl book becomes a shiny Sidekick, a Power Rangers paper invite is now a mass e-mail -- but the tired smiles, the preoccupation with scheduling and planning, the pulling on t-shirts -- none of that changes.