Keeping Relationships Close

(Please welcome Ana’s first post here with us!)


When a baby arrives in a family, often grandparents that live far away come to visit and meet the little bundle of joy. If the grandparents live close, they will perhaps even be at the hospital while the baby is being born, they stay close to the baby as it develops and the relationship grows and continues to get stronger.

If that is not the case, as soon as the first few  months have passed, the relationship may start to become more distant and may not grow as strong as when they share a big part of their lives.

We parents must not forget that granny and grandpa should  play an important part in a baby’s life. The contact with loving people, especially family, is important and beneficial for a baby’s development, not to mention being beneficial for the grandparents as well.

What can I do so that my baby grows up having a close relationship with family far from where we are?

Depending on the distance, we can visit them on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. If you’re are in my position as a Missionary and if your are doing long-term missions, you might not be able to visit them as often and you’d like but… There are other ways to bond and strengthen this relationship.

The phone: If your children are old enough to chat on the phone or say a few goo-goo’s to your parents this might be a good option for them to get used to their tone of voice and to hear all those sweet little loving words that grannies say.

Pictures: I personally use this the most. I document my daughters big and small achievements, her first funny face, her first tooth, the first time she stood on her own, and I send them to my parents. At the same time it’s important to have pictures of your family around your house and take time aside to speak about them and show them to your children, I always tell my daughter about her white haired Grandpa who sings the best “TUNTANGARA” (A song he made for us) and Granny Edith who’s a very talented snuggler and chicken soup maker.

The Internet: It makes everything faster and it opens huge doors of communication… you don’t have to wait over 30 days for pictures and letters to arrive, you just, “type”, “upload”, “send”, “download”… There are some really good tools for this like:

SKYPE. With Skype you can make free calls over the internet to other people on Skype for as long as you like, to wherever you like. It is free to download, we have a web-cam and we connect and chat with my family, my daughter likes to hear their voices and she loves to see herself in the web-cam window.

EMAIL. As I mentioned before you can send and receive letters, images and other types of  files, but if you would like to go a step further into communication and creativity you could try this out… My sister recently created an email account for my niece to which we send emails and talk about her development, her funny moments and her sayings. They then print them out and make a memory book for her. I think she especially loves the ones with little pictures and doodles. I’ve created an account for my daughter as well, she thinks I’m reading story tales as long as I keep that Disney pitched voice. I cannot wait for both of them to be able to read them themselves and see how they used to be and how much we’ve always loved them.

BLOG. A blog is a great tool to keep family and friends updated, with pictures and stories on how, when and what happened.

VIDEOS. Everybody loves them! It doesn’t get more live and real than that, nowadays, digital cameras also come with the great feature  of taking video clips. They don’t have to look professional, believe me, 5 minutes of your kids greeting grandma and grandpa will be enough for them to feel loved and part of your life.

If technology is not your thing, which I doubt, since you’re reading this blog… There’s always the regular (snail) Mail, which is also a great option for sending drawings and crafts that kids make for their family.

Family is God’s plan and we must always stick together… even when a family is not close enough to be the making of a fairy tale,  there is a way to make it good and special.

1 John 3:14
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

How do you keep in touch with Granny, Grandpa and family?  Do you use other type of resources? Would you like to share your story?

Thank you and Blessings,

Ana

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13 Responses to “Keeping Relationships Close”


  1. 1 Ashley L October 3, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I love the email idea! So cute and I am sure that the grandparents must LOVE it! Also, I read a post awhile ago about a really cool and cheap way to make calls to the US/Canada using this little device called a Magic Jack (there is a link to the actual Magic Jack site in the “resources” list here too). It sounds so cool! We have had some major hassles with our Vonage, which generally we have loved, so I am thinking that we might opt for the Magic Jack sometime soon. Here is the post: http://missionarywomen.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/calls-to-the-states-and-canada/

  2. 2 Addie October 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    We use Skype regularly with my parents who we see about once a month. My girls love being able to see Papa and Grama. I also have a family and classroom blog to keep my parents and other family in the loop with what we’re doing and what the girls are learning in homeschool. Although we live close (about an hour) from my husband’s family, we don’t see them much, so we’re considering doing Skype too, especially with a new baby coming. Thanks Ana for your suggestions!

  3. 3 Kylene Bak October 3, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Ana thank you so much for writing this piece about connecting with family far away. We just got back from a visit with my family in Pennsylvania, we live in Denmark. I have always been so close to my family and being the only sibling that does not live about 30min from my parents its kind of tough on my heart. And now that we have a 6 month old daughter saying goodbye this time was a bit tougher. But we just helped my parents get a laptop and my husband helped tutor my mom through how to use skype and we downloaded all of our pictures from our visit there to her computer. We have already chatted twice since we returned home last week. It is so fun to see Lily our daughter react to their voices it seems like she recognizes them. We just spoke with them this evening and it makes my heart so glad to see their happy faces when they get to see Lily.
    Thank you so much for posting this it is encouraging to know that we are so blessed in the time we live in with communication. And how its so different from missionaries of long ago who got on ships never to see their families face to face again. I am thankful for the times we live in. My family is so dear to me and I really want to make sure that Lily knows her family in America. Her crazy grandma,loving grandpa and zany aunts and uncles and cousins.
    I liked the email idea my sisters and sister in law are not so good with emailing but maybe I could do it with my mom.
    We also use Facebook to post pictures of Lily almost weekly. When she was first born we took pictures everyday but that got a bit difficult. So now its weekly or monthly.
    Praise God for technology.
    Blessings from Denmark

  4. 4 Shilo October 4, 2009 at 12:09 am

    We’ve done pretty much all of the above! I am so thankful to be a missionary in this day and age where we have so many options to keep in touch! What a blessing!

  5. 5 Ashley L October 4, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Oh! And we also love snapfish.com. We’ve made several different photo albums and calendars for family, and the best part is no trip to the Russian post office! I love ordering things online. Also, Amazon Prime is our best friend for gift shopping. You pay a yearly fee to get “Prime” membership and then you get free two day shipping on your orders. It works out to be much cheaper for us to buy gifts that way since we can find so many great things on Amazon (not just books).

  6. 6 Kylene Bak October 5, 2009 at 7:08 am

    I just found another great site where you can make scrapbooks and photo albums from my Pastors wife. http://www.smilebox.com
    You can make albums or scrapbooks and send them for free with email or post them to your blog or facebook account. Its so easy too! Hope you have fun with this.

  7. 7 Ana October 5, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Ashley

    Magic Jack sounds really great, I might have to give it a try as well, thanks so much for the link, Amazon is the way to go! now they also have a Service in which you can order and ship through Amazon items that they don’t even have listed, or items that you find elsewhere.

    Thank you for your comments 🙂 Have a blessed Russian day!

  8. 8 Ana October 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Addie

    Thank you for your comment, I’m really grateful for Skype as well, I speak to my family almost every day and the reception from Brazil to there is really good.

    Congratulations on your new baby!

    God bless you

  9. 9 Ana October 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Kylene Bak

    Hi Kylene!… Thank you so much for your comment, I am glad you enjoyed reading this post.

    My husband and I also left when my daughter was about 6 months old and it was very hard for me and for my family, they wanted to spend more time with the baby and they were sad to think that she might not remember them in the future.

    Emma (my daughter) is now 15 months old and she’s starting to speak a bit more, she remembers them very well and already recognizes the skype calling tone, she gets really excited and she loves to see pictures of the family.

    I also use Facebook and my little niece who is only 3 years old sends Story tells that she makes up and records for my daughter, it is really cute.

    Thank you again and I agree, praise God for technology!

    Blessings

  10. 10 Ana October 5, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Oh! and Kylene thank you for the SmileBox link, I love scrapbooking so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it 🙂

  11. 11 Ana October 5, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Shilo

    Thank you for your comment!

    You are right, it is so easy for us to stay in touch with our families now, I can only imagine all what Missionaries had to go through in order to just send a couple of letters and maybe some pictures back to their Countries.

    Now we can give our families, friends and supporters all the insights of our life in the Missions field without leaving home!

    I agree, what a blessing!


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