One of the many realities of being all grown up is surroundings change. Opportunities arise, life changes, we move, we lose touch, we reconnect, we start fresh, opportunities arise, we start the process all over again. Or something to that effect. My question is, throughout the circumstances which distance us from loved ones, how do you stay connected?
That’s a tough one, no? I’ve had friends admit to me outright that they fall victim to out of sight, out of mind, even in an era where social media is king. Some are better at it than others, and word to your mother, sometimes it just depends on what is going on in life at the moment. Do you find that blogs, Twitter, and Facebook keep you most connected? Or do you carve out some time each week to send a heart-felt email, card, or pick up the phone…not to text but to talk?
And with whom do you find you stay most connected? When I moved away from home for school years ago, my sister and I grew closer and developed a fresh relationship that transitioned us from adolescents to young adults. We made more of an effort to communicate than when we shared a wall, whether by phone or the antiquated Hallmark cards, and because of that we stayed connected and our relationship grew with us.
Those are my questions around staying connected in the shorter-terms. What about in the long-run? To help me address the question of how to stay connected long-term, I have to share a gift I received upon celebrating my birthday over the past couple of weeks. (Yeah, I’m kind of a birthday hog that way). Back in 2000, I gave my mother a journal for her birthday. I found it at a local bookstore in college; it is roughly 150 pages, each introduced by a question a child would ask their parent, many of which you wouldn’t likely think to ask on your own. So my mother went through, answered each and every question as thoroughly as she could, and returned the journal to me for my birthday nine years later! This was the best gift I could have ever received and I spent the entire plane ride home, and then some, thoroughly reading and pondering her responses. Glimpses into various facets of my mother’s entire life, things she has never shared with anyone, tucked away and immortalized for her daughters to treasure. I would love to receive these from all my family members…what a unique way to connect over time? I will go back to this journal of my mother’s for years to come…when I’m lonely, nostalgic, in need of some ‘what would mom do’ advice, etc.
Am I suggesting that you create and/or find a journal to inflict upon your loved ones? Well, sure. But realistically, conversations are probably easier. In the meantime, write your questions down, pick up the phone, compose a new email, just make sure you capture it!
Just for grins, here are some I pulled from the journal that I’ll answer:
What did your childhood bedroom look like? I had peach-colored walls, a pet net for all my stuffties, my grandmother’s furniture (queen bed, chest of drawers), and a dresser made by my grandfather; depending on my age I had handmade art from my aunt, photos, or posters on my walls
What were the trends when you were in junior high? Bangs! I had a cloud atop my head. I distinctly remember Umbro shirt/short sets and Teva sandals with knee-high socks being a pervasive trend in eighth grade as well
What were some of the most memorable books you read as a child? What made them memorable? The Berenstein Bears; there was a book for every childhood scenario it seemed…whether lessons in junk food, cleaning your room, being honest, sibling rivalry… those bears. Also Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, likely for the same reasons. Both series were relevant to me at the time I read them.