I have eight siblings spread across the United States of America. I am currently living about 800 miles away from my closest immediate family member. The distance makes it hard to connect with my family. Thankfully several of my siblings are active on Facebook and I can see pictures of them and their kids, as well as updates about life and what’s going on. But, not all of them are on there. I am not as close to my family as I once was when we were all in the same place in Wisconsin. Honestly, I am always grateful for the times we do get together, talk, and reconnect. Here are some things the connect me with my family, whether physically or emotionally.
1. Google+ Hangouts
For Christmas, we sent my mother-in-law a webcam (affiliate) so that we could start doing Google+ Hangouts with them. We just left them behind in Indiana, and they always bemoan how much they miss their babies. So, we set up a time for a call recently and our girls were able to thank their grandparents “in person” for the gifts they had received from them for Christmas, and tell them all about their Holiday. My girls were a little shy, and perhaps slightly confused, but I think as we do it more, that the experience will become a sweet memory for all involved.
I have known several families who have Skyped or done these video hangouts on Google Plus on a regular basis with grandparents, or even their whole families (siblings/kids), who are spread across the world.
2. Christmas Cards
For the last three years now we’ve been sending out Christmas cards. Not only do we send the pretty picture we had taken of our family, but also a family update. It’s very nice for our older family members (like my grandmother and Josh’s grandmother) who are not on Facebook, don’t read our blog, and who we don’t talk to very often. We know they love us, and they love knowing what’s going on. But, even for other family members, it’s nice to get these updates, even if it’s a virtual eCard and attached letter. I wish more of my siblings took the time to write one up, because I really, really do want to know the highlights (and even the lowlights) from their past year, as well as my nieces’ and nephews’.
3. All Things Wisconsin
I am a born and raised Wisconsinite. And anything that relates to my home state really reminds me of my family, memories from growing up, and the place I called home for 18 years. From the great “Canadian” accent, to calling drinking fountains bubblers, to talking about the Green Bay Packers, I love how it reminds me of home, and my family members who still live there. I
4. Family Holidays Get Togethers
My family loves Thanksgiving. And I really love it too. It’s an excellent Holiday, of food, family, football, Turkey Bowls, shopping, and board games. I don’t know why we have chosen this holiday, when the break is so short for it, but we try hard to get together as family for Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s just two or three siblings. Sometimes it’s most of the crew and our parents. But, no matter how many of us get together, it is a good time.
5. Foods From Home
Recently my niece Samantha left to go and serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manchester, England. She is very far away from home! While she is loving the work as a missionary, I’m sure she misses being able to be with family during the Holiday season. I’m also sure she misses certain American foods, especially as she has told stories of eating some interesting new foods from the people there. In fact, in today’s letter she wrote about how she made her missionary companion eat her homemade biscuits and gravy, as well as a Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich. She was even nice enough to include a picture of her dish in her weekly email!
Watching this video, I remembered my building supervisor from when I worked at Helaman Halls at BYU on the custodian crew. My supervisor was from Brazil and would love to make us authentic Brazilian foods during our Friday lunch parties. We loved being able to take part in her culture, as most of her family was still in Brazil, and it took a lot of saving for her to be able to go back for her month-long trips to Brazil. She frequently talked about her family back home, even though she was in the United States to stay, becoming an official citizen shortly after I left my employment there.
There really is something special about food and family, and the connection they bring to “home.” While my own mother wasn’t a great cook, I still do think back fondly on those few dishes she would make that I loved, as well as making food together as a family, like pizzas on Sunday, and especially the big holiday rush of food preparation.
What are some things that connect you to your family?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.