Good morning, Mamma!!
I am on day four away from my kids. One more day to go.
How do I stay close to my kids when I’m half a country away? Is it possible? Am I insane for living this life? (By Day Four it is nearly inevitable that I begin to ask myself this question.)
Am I insane? Well… we have to eat, and food costs money, and the particular skill set that society is willing to pay me for requires that I be away from home for a few days every once in a while.
So, that sounds sane.
But it still sucks by Day Four.
So back to the Kid Connection question: Can I stay close to them?
Yes, Mamma, of course. And you can too, wherever you are in the world.
What are relationships, really? Seriously, what are they? Do we automatically have relationships with our kids because we bore them, they are our flesh and blood, and we live (mostly) in the same house?
No. Nope. Proximity and even blood kinship is most certainly not enough. Just as standing next to a hammer, nails and pile of wood won’t build a bridge, simply living in the same house won’t build a relationship with your kids.
What does build a relationship?
• Shared experiences.
• Knowing each other, and knowing each other requires ongoing communication and observation. Ongoing, because people change and grow.
• Taking care of each other. Those outward expressions of “you are important to me”.
That’s some of it.
Of these three, how much can I do from thirteen hundred miles away?
Well, I can call. If I can’t share their experiences live and in person, I can do so by letting them tell me about it. I can write notes for them to find while I’m gone. So we can still communicate, even from far away. I can prep food the weekend before so that every time they open the fridge they see that I love them and am still trying to take care of them. Skype, texting pictures, texting them car pool reminders to let them know that I am still aware of their needs. Lots of little things – and little things add up.
Building, building, building… one little block at a time.
Build the bridge, Mamma. Wherever you are, whatever is going on. Look around at what’s available to you, and build the bridge.