How Do I Keep In Touch?
This week I was thinking about how many ways I have kept in touch with my children as they have grown up and out of the house. In some ways I feel closer to them now that they live across the country than I did when they lived a few miles away. My experiences in recent years have shown that with a little effort I can still have close relationships with my children, even when they are out of the country.
1. Text. Texting is not a perfect substitute for one on one time but it does let me know what they are up to and how things are going. It may just be a line or two but that keeps the communication going across the miles.
2. Phone contact. I have two children that love to talk on the phone and regularly call me each week for a good long chat. It is nice to hear their voice and share whatever is on their mind. They may have a problem they want advice about or they may be feeling homesick and need to have a little news from “back home”.
3. FaceTime. I really like FaceTime when they are out of the country and I can see that they are physically okay and get a glimpse into what their living conditions are like where ever they are at the time.
4. Instagram. This is the one social media outlet that I strictly keep for personal use. Either by regular posting or through direct message I can share images and words with my kids that encourage and support their many activities.
5. Snail mail letters and packages. I try to send my kids a letter or card each month, adding it to my monthly planner has helped to remind me to get these out in the mail. I also send “care packages” from time to time which are fun ways to let them know I am thinking of them with their favorite treats and little special things that I pick up during my normal errands. Sometimes I send these directly from Amazon.com to their address if they have a special need.
6. Plane tickets home. My two children that are living in New York have limited disposable income so I have sent my son plane tickets twice and my daughter will be getting tickets later this year to come home for a visit. These visits are the highlight of our family life….priceless! I can’t wait to see my daughter because it has been almost a YEAR since we have been together!
7. Family dinners. For my two boys that are still here in California, one living outside the home, we have dinners together about once a month on the weekend. Nothing fancy but we usually include an activity like a long walk with the dog, a family board game, or a movie of their choice. I know that these dinners are getting harder and harder to coordinate but soon my one son will be out of the country again so it is a priority for me to make these gatherings happen more than ever.
For now, I am content with the way things are going and I plan on keeping it up. It is possible to keep a family close even when separated by miles and/or oceans.