Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Virtual Family

No, I don't mean a bright and smiling easier-to-manage set of kids in Second Life or a farm full of Facebook cows that I milk instead of walking my real-life talk: I'm talking about the joys of technology for the far-flung family--and not even especially NEW technology.

As tends to happen as we age in the modern world, my three kids are in three different cities in two different states. One still lives with me, but the others are each five hours away...and not even the same five hours. To make matters worse, one of those distant children keeps my grandchildren in her faraway home.

There just aren't many days like this anymore:

And though we make an effort to get together when we can, too often it's hectic holidays and planned events and big crowds and none of those ordinary days that broke out into a squirt gun war or a multi-city quest for Tiddly Winks.

Last night, though, my girls reminded me (by example) that those days aren't about the perfect situation but about taking everyday life as it comes. I hadn't been feeling well all day and had ordered a pizza for an early dinner so that I wouldn't have to cook. When the pizza arrived at the front door, Tori was nowhere to be found, but the open front door provided a clue. I couldn't see her, but I could hear her voice: she was walking the dog and talking to her sister on the telephone. I called out to her that the food was here and she came inside, but rather than hanging up the phone she put it on speaker and set it down in the living room.

While we ate pizza and chatted, Beth bathed her kids and got them ready for bed. Tori likened this, later, to standing in the bathroom doorway and talking to her sister while she bathed the kids. And it was...except that we were 200 miles apart.

Afterward she put the kids to bed and Tori and I both started crocheting, sitting on separate couches with the dog curled up on my feet and we talked...and talked...and talked. Somehow, as we talked about the kids and laughed about escapades gone by and books and movies and yes, a few other family members, more than three hours passed. And it was much more like those nights we'd make popcorn and play a game in the living room or hang out late in our hotel room when we visit than I might ever have imagined.

1 comment:

Kit said...

Exactly! The phone and internet are very useful tools ... they don't only take us away from other people in the flesh.
My friend Sadie was away from her new love for a weekend, and was phoning him (and vice versa) three times a day. I thought, wouldn't Skype be dandy ... we should get that set up! Then he'd be right here in the room with us!
Sounds like a very nice time was had by you and yours. Have a happy American Thanksgiving!