You smiled the first time your son showed you how to use Skype before he moved away from home to start his new journey in life. Your heart filled with joy when he called you for the first time to show you his quirky new apartment, that he and his partner rented thousands of miles away from his childhood home. You baked hundreds of cookies and made countless roast dinners while eagerly awaiting the holidays, when all your loved ones would come back and fill the now empty rooms with laughter and joy.
But despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the communication going, you cannot shake the feeling that you’re missing out on some of the milestones of your little grandkids. Whenever you visit your son’s family, there’s another tooth that fell out, another centimeter that the little one has grown or another friend you’ve never heard of coming round.
Despite all the love and affection that you get showered with when you visit (or indeed when they visit you,) there is always that nagging sensation that instead of enjoying the present, you just get to hear all the interesting stories from someone else.
Living away from your family can be hard…
Unfortunately, these feelings are common among awesome grandparents like you, who want to experience true connection and have a presence in their grandchildren’s life.
Add timezone differences, your son’s reluctance to overshare baby pictures with his friends on Facebook or Instagram and cancelled phone calls due to meetings, parent-teacher conferences and anything in between and you are left with a distinct lack of fulfilment in your role as a grandparent.
Relying on the internet for communication has its upsides and downsides. On one hand, we live in an age where a stable internet connection can make speaking to someone who is thousands of miles away as easy as boiling a kettle. Facebook and Skype are just a click away, and with them come endless possibilities – hearing your loved ones speak, seeing those pictures from that zoo trip that you’ve heard your son speak about on the phone or simply writing a message that can reach your grandkid in a matter of seconds.
However, while the internet has changed the way we communicate with people and has opened up the physical boundaries of space, it’s sometimes harder than it should be. Did I turn Skype on? Is the sound up? Did I update the software? Should I click on that? Not to mention, spending the first 20 minutes asking “Can you hear me?” This can all cause frustration and reluctance to connect in this way.
Ultimately, we do what works for us. We try one thing, it fails, we try another, then a new thing comes along. We are willing to live and learn just so that we can continue to connect. Struggling to use new technology is not something that we have to face alone (even though sometimes it might feel like that.)
Here at Kindaba, we are a happy bunch of kids, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts and ultimately grandkids who are scattered around the world. Even though we try our best to keep the connections with our families meaningful, we unfortunately slip up sometimes. Therefore, we get the frustrations of having to cancel that long-awaited Skype call with our nana because a really important meeting came up and we can’t miss it.
Don’t worry, you are not alone
Living away from your family is never easy, but it can be great to communicate with other people who share that experience. We recommend Famtech – an amazing community of parents, siblings and grandparents.
As a member of Famtech, we want you to be able to share all your bits of wisdom with everyone else (and perhaps benefit from their experiences as well.) This is why we’re aiming to offer 4 simple things:
1. Experience exclusive conversations you can’t find anywhere else
2. Meet people who share your interests in family, technology and privacy, who care about shaping the new wave of social and believe that we can do better than mainstream networks
3. Make better, more well-informed decisions about the things that are most important to you – your family
4. Swap stories, experiences, and ideas around our shared mission of supporting families to feel safe and empowered with technology
To find a little inspiration, thought-provoking conversations, and expert perspective each and every day – become a Famtech member.