How modern technology saved us while our family was apart.
“Don’t worry buddy, I’ll see you soon!”
It was all I could do to fight back the tears as I watched my husband (who was fighting to do the same) kneel down and say goodbye to our 2 year old son. We were both doing our best to act as if nothing was wrong, that daddy was just going away for a brief time, that everything was great and that we’d all be back together again soon. Unfortunately, our son saw right through our act, and although he was still too young to cognitively express himself, knew something was up. My heart broke into tiny pieces as my husband turned and walked towards his terminal, and my son’s big brown eyes welled up with tears. “Daddy!” He cried as confusion darkened his face. This was going to be rough, I thought to myself. But people do this everyday, whether it be because of a military deployment or a job assignment, and they make it, they survive…they do just fine. I was trying my hardest to convince myself as I scooped up my now sobbing little guy and walked towards our car.
My husband was working as a helicopter pilot in the Grand Canyon. After living in Southern Nevada for a year, we decided to pack up our bags and head up to Portland, OR. We had family there, and the weather was more suitable for raising an active little boy. My husband would stay in Southern Nevada and couch surf until he found another job. We thought it would be temporary, that finding another job would be cake and that we’d be able to see each other often.Unfortunately, we were wrong. Time passed and we were still living apart. Being away from our son at such a critical time of growth was challenging for my husband. He worried about missing all of those precious moments and milestones. He also feared that our son would forget him, and that he’d lose his place of value.
Being away from your family is hard on your heart. But people have been doing it since the beginning of time. I always think about the soldiers who fought in World War 2 that had to leave their families behind for years, with no communication options other than writing and an occasional phone call. I can’t imagine what this must have been like for them. They were doing what they had to do at the time, but I’m sure they regretted missing out on valuable family time. And for the people who were left behind, I imagine they must have worried and wondered and wished for their loved one to be present so they could share every phase of life. Today, we are so lucky to have advanced technology that keeps us well connected. If someone has to go away because of a job or situation, they are able to chose from a multitude of different digital platforms that will keep them connected to their family visually and audibly.
If you are in this situation, and you’re looking for unique ways to stay in touch with your loved ones, take a look at the recommendations below.
1.Make Them A Video
If you have a smart phone with a camera, then the world is your oyster when it comes to making videos. I’m a big fan of the iMovie app, for ease of use and versatility. Some other great (and rvideo editing options include Pinnacle Studio Pro, KineMaster, Adobe Premier Clip and Movie Edit Touch. If you’re wanting to add a cute little jingle for soundtrack music, check out Incompetech for a vast selection of free music/audio downloads.
About a month ago, my husband made this video for my son, who has watched it over and over again. He made this video with iMovie on his iPhone. My son has watched it more times than I can count!
2. FaceTime or Skype
I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through an extended family separation without these two digital tools. With FaceTime and Skype, you may not be together in the flesh, but you can talk for free (if you have a good phone signal) while visually seeing the person you’re talking to. Sometimes with younger kids, this can be a source of frustration, because seeing the missing parent reminds them they’re gone. But with a little bit of patience and consistence, this can be overcome.
3. Talk On The Phone
No matter what, talking on the phone with your loved one never goes out of style. In fact, I believe it’s a practice we should all do more often. With the creation of texting and social media instant messages, it’s easy to skip out on actually committing to a conversation. With children, hearing your voice on a continual basis is so essential to their knowing that you have not left them, and that you are committed to being a part of their lives.
We’ve all heard the old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and perhaps it does. But there’s nothing like hugging the ones you love. 🙂 May your separation be short and your conversations full of peace, love and joy! This time apart, like everything else in life, will not last forever.