Thanks to modern technology, I know that there are 3, 943 miles between my house in London and my sister Cathy’s house in the suburbs of Chicago. There are 3, 944 miles between my house and my sister Susie, who lives in a different suburb of Chicago. My parents are 3, 955 miles away. The plane ride is usually about 9 hours from London to Chicago and 7 and a half hours for the opposite direction, depending on winds and such.
During all but 4 weeks of the year, 2 in the spring and 2 in the fall, there is a 6 hour time difference. This all adds up to a struggle to stay connected to our family and friends who do not live locally.
To keep the connections with grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins, we use a variety of modern technology. My personal favourites are Viber, FaceTime, and SnapChat. These apps let us send and receive text messages whenever it’s convenient despite the time difference. They also let us talk and see videos of what our loved ones are up to despite the miles separating us. But they are not without their challenges too.
Have you ever tried to video chat with someone while a young child is around? In my house, it doesn’t matter if the child in question is the nearly 4-year-old, 6-year-old, or the 10-year-old, the child tries to put bunny ears behind my head or makes silly faces as they watch their own image in the little square on the screen. Or screaming. Someone is usually screaming either trying to draw my attention to his immediate need or to be heard by the person on the other end of the video chat. It’s nearly impossible to get a word in edge-wise.
But I keep trying.
Of course the best way to stay connected is the visits. We’ve lived in London for nearly 4 years, and we’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel back to visit family once each year. During those 2 weeks were are together, we spend our time creating great memories. Last year there was a Memorial Day Parade, BBQs with friends and family, trips to Grandma’s house… the works.
The best bit about this is how the photos prompt us to tell stories about these amazing people we love but we don’t get to see every day. I don’t want to fall prey to the “out of sight, out of mind” problem, and these photos on display are a little insurance policy that we don’t.
Of course, I also make sure my family has photos of us to display in their homes as well. It goes both ways, right?
So look around your walls and your home. Who do you see? Who do you want to see? Make the most of the times together by displaying your photos and sharing the stories. Then those 3, 943 miles won’t feel quite as far.
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