The world is getting smaller and more interconnected every day. That’s just modern reality. We are mobile and we are on the move. Most of the times we are no longer “confined” to living in the same area, city, or even country as our ancestors. If I look at my classmates from school, for example, almost none of them stayed in my home-country. My ex-classmates are now everywhere from Europe to Canada and from Brazil to New Zealand. But what about their families? Well, as we are now in our 30s, most of my ex-classmates have families of their own. Yet, this is not what I mean… Their parents, their, so-to-say initial families, families they were born into – they in a lot of occasions are still in Latvia. And that raises quite some questions. The first and probably most obvious one is: how do you truly stay in touch?
Luckily, our mobility goes hand in hand with the development of technology. Thus, as for myself I am an active user of all various communication platforms, mainly Skype and Whatsapp. It is thanks to Skype that my mother back in Latvia saw the moment my daughter started crawling, as well as her very first steps! That was, of course, a coincidence that we were “skyping” exactly at those moments. But then again, we “skype” almost daily. I truly believe that even though there might be hundreds or even thousands of kilometres in between you, it is still possible to keep in touch. Moreover, sometimes I think that I talk with my mom more often than some other people who live next door from their parents.
If I would need to come up with some advice on long-distance communication with parents, I would say: keep it regular and don’t bother about the seriousness of the conversation. The thing I noticed on multiple occasions is that if people haven’t spoken in a while, it might seem difficult to find a subject to talk about. Partially this might be due to the fact that if you speak only once a month, you want to talk about truly important things. It seems to be irrelevant to mention that you tore your favorite stockings or that your son told your daughter: “you are a princess!”. Maybe those are silly things, but guess what? Life is made up of small silly things amongst big significant ones. Of course, you will talk about a new job for instance or a major purchase, but those are not the only things that make up your life. It is also about the drawing your kid made which resembles a dragon, but is called “my dear mommy”; it is about the butterfly that was sitting on your window the whole morning and inspired you to write a small poem; it is about you opening the door to the mailman wearing your facial mask (actually did that… and it was hilarious!).
If you have kids of your own, think about something for a moment: toddlers come home from kindergarten and tell you the story of how they were jumping at the playground and then there was this boy / girl / cat and then an apple fell, and then they were playing hide-and-seek,… And you hear those stories over and over again, but those are your precious little kids, you will listen to them and through those stories and emotions you will connect. Why would it be different with parents of your own? You are still their little kid, despite your wrinkles and assumed wisdom.
Connection happens through small things, silly things; emotions; little pleasures and worries. In my view, the true keeping in touch is exactly about all those things, not only major and global changes in your life. I have to say once again, that luckily modern technologies allow that communication to be there, but that works only if you really want it to be there.
To note that we also go to Latvia at least twice a year to actually physically see each other, to spend some time together, to give each other a hug. However, because our communication, our staying in touch never ceases, there is no need for adjustment. We can just continue from there straight away. Also our kids, who regularly see their grannies on the screen, don’t need any time to “get used to them”. Our connection is just constantly kept alive.
P.S. Mom, I’ll call you in a moment! Imagine, I managed to get that latte-heart almost perfect!
2 thoughts on “Family living far away: keeping in touch despite the distance”
i lived one year abroad and all i did was skype, some calls sometimes, facebook, emails… and of course surprise visits to my family&friends back home!
That’s great! It is very important 🙂 and suprise visits are awesome. I did that as well once, but with thousands of kilometres apart that is not that easy unfortunately…