(Every so often I reread old posts on Thursday's Child. I find going back to older writings helps me keep track of how much has changed. Or, not. Family Matters is one that still applies to us. I've changed only a couple of things to update.)
This month our family celebrates two birthdays for my greatgrandsons. The other six greats are scattered throughout the year: January, July, August, September, November.
My four grandchildren are bunched in the first half of the year: January, April, and May.
The rest of us fill in around them, except for October. My fullest month for birthday cards is January--six of us! (Although I don't send one to myself.)
Life's like that--bunched up, scattered out, filling in around the rest of life.
Geographically we're widespread:
- I'm from Illinois, currently living in Indiana.
- One daughter in Arizona.
- One daughter, son-in-law, two grandsons and their families, in Ohio.
- My son, daughter-in-law, and both grandsons in Indiana.
- One daughter in Minnesota.
I've been thinking of all the ways we keep in touch.
Some of us are Dinosaurs--we still like to write by hand with pen on paper, fold up the sheets and stuff them in an envelope, write the (correct) street address on the outside of the envelope, stick on a stamp, make sure the flap is stuck down, and put the end product in the drop box at the Post Office downtown.
Most of these missives are sent to other Dinosaurs, who love to pop open the mailbox and see a fat envelope with their name on it, written in the wonky hand of a child, best friend, or even an acquaintance. At my house, such letters or notes require a fresh cup of hot tea and a lamp shining on the pages while I curl up in the rocker to read. May take only three minutes. May take fifteen. But it's there for re-reading later. What did she say about her home ec club? What was that crazy thing her husband did the other day?
Dinosaurs may be dinosaurs, but they have a lot of fun.
Then there are the techno-geeks. Email, text, fax, scan, upload photos from your phone or digital camera (now nearly a dinosaur toy)--launch it out through the ether into the computer/phone/tablet/pod of your favorite geek. With Skype, we visit in living color and sound. (These innovations were science fiction in my earlier years. Now they're your everyday occurrence.)
That's all fun, too. Even for Dinosaurs.
Other new ways we can stay in touch: Facebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing; blogs, websites; or if you want to really go retro, pick up the phone and call--you know, hit a speed dial number for Mom or enter the number with your personal digits (fingers). Mom probably won't answer if she's at Tai Chi that morning, but you can leave a voicemail message, and she'll return your call and leave a message on your machine. Believe me, texting is quicker.
Our family may not live in each other's pockets, or spend a lot of face time together. But we have our connections--interest in each other's lives, joy in watching the little 'uns grow, anticipation of get-togethers.
In December quite a few of our clan will gather at the Ohio daughter's house--no traditional meal this time (that was Thanksgiving), just everybody's foodie contribution, with plenty of conversation, gifts for one and all, and the satisfaction of four generations meeting to celebrate Christmas.
Our way isn't everybody's cup of tea--it's just the way we do it.
Hope you celebrate your way...and enjoy every moment.
(Here's our newest family member, Bayne Overmyer, born in August. Birth weight was 2.2 lbs. Now he's up to 6 lbs. and doing well!)