Blogger Alexandra Johnson shares her secrets on how to best keep in touch with long distance family!
Our core family is like any other family.
I have my mum and her boyfriend (if you can call a chap in his twilight years a boy…) and one sister (who has a husband and two baby daughters).
On my husband’s side he has his mum and dad, a younger sister (her husband and their baby daughter) and an older brother.
But that is where we cease to be ‘normal’, you see we are all scattered to the four winds:
- My husband (Will) and I live in Northern Scotland with our 10 month old baby daughter (the Babe)
- My mum lives in rural Oxfordshire
- Will’s mum lives in rural Warwickshire
- Will’s dad is in deepest, darkest East Hampshire
- My sister and her family split their time between Munich and Zimbabwe
- Will’s brother is in Finland
- Will’s sister and her family live in New Zealand.
Keeping in touch could be a challenge, but with modern communication platforms: Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook, email etc no one is ever more than a beep away.
But talking to people on the phone or over IM and seeing people physically are two very different things. And shared photos of the babies are lost in the latest barrage of texts.
In our two families (and there must be something in the water) between us all, the four babies are all under the age of three.
We want to be a part of each other’s lives, we are all related by blood or marriage after all, but the distance doesn’t make it easy.
And then a friend (when I was pregnant) showed me her Lifecake account. I was hooked from the off.
“And the best thing is,” my friend said, “is that Abby’s (her sister in law who had put her onto Lifecake) kids are here too”.
She then proceeded to show me her baby son’s personal timeline and how you can merge the timelines to incorporate Abby’s two kids.
It was beautiful. A blow by blow visual account (with dates) of the children’s lives. I thought (and still do think) it’s ideal for keeping photos in one place, it’s safe and secure, and only those you grant access to can see the pictures i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends etc. For keeping in touch with long distance family, it’s wonderful.
You see whilst Will and I are both avid social media users, we haven’t posted any photos of the Babe on our social media platforms – we firmly believe her image is not ours to share with all and sundry, she isn’t open season for the world and his wife to view and comment on.
If she chooses in later life to post pictures of herself as a roly poly pudding, then that is her prerogative, but for now, only our nearest and dearest: her aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and godparents can witness her growing up online.
My mother has just come to stay with us for the weekend and I asked her if she thought the Babe had changed and she replied “No”.
My mother hadn’t seen her granddaughter in the flesh since August, and at only 10 months old the Babe changes on a near daily basis.
I asked her to elaborate, so she did ( I’ve paraphrased slightly – my mother isn’t quite so expressive).
“I see new pictures of her everyday, I’ve watched her change and grow, so the image I have of her in my mind’s eyes is the last picture you shared on Lifecake. I’m not missing out.”
Article by Alexandra Johnson