Most recently, my brother and nieces moved away from us to North Carolina. Now granted, I probably didn’t see them as much as I should have while they were living here on the Island, but it dawned on me when they left, that family really is a valuable commodity that shouldn’t be taken for granted… not too mention I missed them dearly. It was at that point that I decided I would be closer to my brother and family more so, despite them being so far away. Here are some tips for you and your “distant” relatives that can help bring you closer together.
•Try actually calling each other on a regular basis! So simple, yet we never find the time to do it, or we forget… or perhaps it’s out of fear that we won’t ever have anything to say. I call my brother at least once a week now (which is more than when he lived here!). Sometimes I have to figure out what I want to talk to him about before I call, sometimes I try to make it up as I go, and sometimes I feel like I am trying too hard to spark up conversation (I am sure I’m not alone on that one). But some conversations are really good ones, and sometimes we end up shootin’ the breeze for a decent amount of time. The bottom line however is not the quality, but the effort I put in to being there for him. We may not have a lot in common, but you don’t have to when it comes to family, because you have history… and a bond. It’s about being there for each other the best you can.
•Make it a habit of sending family photos to each other. Something I just started recently. My brother and I have families of our own. I was saddened by the fact that my brother was not here to see my son when he was born. So I started sending some pics of him, and he will be doing the same as well. When I first started sending pictures of my son, my brother said that his daughter (age 2) would look at them and ask if that is here cousin. She asks about him almost everyday. She has never met him before, but she asks about him… how great is that!
•Video messaging is an amazing thing! I actually have my brother working on getting a new computer and webcam so we can finally talk face to face, the kids can say hello to each other, and you can even play online games such as chess and checkers with each other! I personally have this set up already and I use it to coach clients. It is the next best thing to actually being there! Also, with technology advancing so fast, the clarity is getting better and better for the webcams… and so is the price! With any computer now a days, you can purchase a webcam (microphone is usually already built in) for about as little as $30.00, to as much as $100.00. They attach easily through USB port and your installation wizard usually takes care of the rest; or you can install it using the CD-rom they usually provide. They sell video phones now as well, and they work OK, but if you already have a computer, a webcam would definitely be the way to go!!
I hope that these few suggestions have ignited some ideas of your own on how you can become closer to your distant relatives. Oh, by the way… our latest idea is that the whole immediate family rent a huge house for a week somewhere, so we can spend it with each other. Although not a new concept, it can be a great way to spend a week of vacation; having the whole family together in a beautiful and large house! Everyone chips in for the rental, and we can set up the week so that some of the time we are doing family activities like picnics and BBQ’s, and some the time can be spent doing activities separate from each other as well. The best of both worlds. Just goes to show you that you don’t have to be apart from family, just because you live apart!