Modern technology makes up for lack of geographic luck

Sarah is lucky in many ways, one of which is the mere fact that all of her immediate family lives here in the St. Louis area. Her parents, her brothers, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles. You name it, they’re here.

For my side of the family, things are a little more scattered about. I have a grandmother and uncle who live in the area. That’s it. Two people. Everybody else is elsewhere.

I have one sister who lives pretty far up north, and another who’s been moving all over the country for the past two years on short-term medical contracts. My parents have lived in Springfield, Mo., for 14 years. I have aunts in Vegas and LA, along with a grandma who’s been staying with her daughters in these various locales since moving from her permanent home in La Joya, Texas, about seven months ago.

Growing up, I faced a similar situation. I hardly got to know some of my relatives like I wish I could have done. I’d see some people, like my Aunt Shirley and her family, once every few years. The times we’d spend together were always memorable and awesome, but there was always that initial awkwardness the first hour or day, when you’d feel like, “Who are these people again?” Thankfully, we’ve had bar/bat mitzvah’s and weddings almost every year since 2000, so we’ve been able to grow closer, but it’s still hard looking back on my formative years and thinking about the lack of family contact.

I don’t want our boy to not know his family, so that’s why it’s exciting that modern technology has allowed us to bridge the gap, sort of, in terms of face time with each other. We’ve been using the Skype Internet phone service, utilizing our computers, Web cams and microphones to talk, much like they on the “Jetsons.” Picture phones. It’s pretty cool stuff. My mom gushes when she sees and hears Oliver coo as I hold him up to my laptop. My sister tears up when she sees the boy wave his tiny arm around in circles. Grandma grins ear-to-ear as she catches a glimpse of Oliver for the first time. It really is amazing.

My only fear now is that Oliver will think of his grandparents and aunts as the “people in the box.” It makes sense when you see what I’m talking about. This is what our view of Grandpa Neal and Grandma Sharon looks like:


So what do you do to stay close to distant relatives, short of traveling? Has modern technology allowed you to connect like we have? Any other suggestions?

50 thoughts on “Modern technology makes up for lack of geographic luck

  1. You may not remember, but you did not live in St.Louis when you were born. You lived 2 1/2 hours away. I was lucky to be able to be at your house & stay with you when you were born. I also came down twice a month to see you! I feel I got to see you alot when you were little. Than when I moved to LA and Las Vegas I came out to see you as often as possible. Your first day of Kindergarten I put you on the bus! Your teen years are what I missed out on. We always had photos and letters and phone calls… Couldn’t possibly love you more or be prouder of you if I lived next door. My kids never had family here, so we made our own. We also always talked about all the cousins, aunts and uncles alot. I think our extended family turned out pretty well. Everyone sure has fun when they get together! On another subject, tomorrow is my 25th wedding anniversary!! Not bad for only knowing him six weeks!! Love you guys, can’t wait to see you- Love, Aunt Sandy

  2. Hey, congrats on the 25th wedding anniversary. That’s awesome. I knew it was coming up, but wasn’t sure when.I cannot say enough about how great it was seeing you as I grew up. Yes, the teen years were a little lacking, but we did get to see each other somewhat regularly. Despite most of the drawbacks, there is one cool thing about living apart: when you actually spend time together it’s all the more meaningful. I know that when you all came into town, those times were really special. I’ve already sensed that the times that my sisters have visited here and spent time with Oliver. Those moments are extra special (not to take anything away from the local relatives!). Have a wonderful anniversary and I will see you (in person, nevertheless) in a couple weeks. We cannot wait.

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