Are you tweeting your good cheer this year? Putting up Facebook photos for those long distance relatives? Are you sending email Christmas cards to save paper, postage, time, the world? I love to hear from friends, so thank you all for the cat playing jazz piano holiday tunes, really! Yes, using today's technology to keep in touch is better than when we couldn't but contact doesn't always equal connection.
Sometimes it's hard to keep a long distance relationship going even for close family members. Technology does make it easier. For 24 years I had a relationship with my daughter that was the envy of many friends. The last six years since she landed in Washington D.C. have been tough. We have always been close and if you ask her now, she would say we still are. At the risk of sounding like a complaining mom dosing out holiday guilt, I would just like to say that technology is redefining what a close relationship is for a generation of working professionals on the fast track.
My daughter, a busy journalist in D.C., and I communicate almost everyday through iChat and email. I'm truly grateful for that. Sometimes we do iChat-Video, which is kind of weird. We always stare at each other during awkward pauses. I don't know why. If I don't hear from her for a couple of days, her political tweets put a smile on my face and I know she is fine. However now and then friends will ask me normal questions about she or her husband's daily life and I can't answer them. There are some large areas of missing data.
The level of conversation is different in electronic format vs. talking in person or on the phone. It just is. She and I do our best to get over that hurdle. Thanksgiving was a blast for me with a combination of telephone calls, emails and phone photos, I helped her make perfect gravy for her holiday turkey. It was practically a normal mom/daughter interaction.
In day-to-day life this communication technology is a really blessing, but listen to your mother, pick up the phone and call once in a while! There's nothing like hearing the voice of our loved ones and catching up on all the details if you're miles apart. That means the gossip, the ups, the downs and the back story of our personal lives. As for me, I'm heading into the aftermath of the DC blizzard for the holidays so I couldn't be happier to get some face to face time. If only my dogs could learn to tweet while I miss them for a week.