One out of four seemed a reasonable turn out, given our geographical spread these days. For Dad’s birthday last weekend, I was the sole kidult physically present to wish him a happy birthday. But on the morning of his birthday, there was a kind of digital party created, with first a video call to my brother, then as Mum and Dad continue talking to him, I answered the landline to one sister, and we chatted in the lounge as I could hear my parents talking to my brother in the kitchen. Then not long after, my other sister rang. Through the tyranny of distance we’d harnessed our old and new technology and created a sense of a family gathering. A little virtual party. It was quite lovely. It also reminded me just how big a family with four kids can feel!
The distance feels closer now with technology. People talk about whole relationships that have been based over Skype – I’m sure many a grandchild knows their grandparents almost exclusively as being on the other end of the laptop or iPad. The arrival of things like text must have brought families into each others day to day lives in little chirps and blips throughout the day.
We were fortunate to cross the time and space divide to have some real in-person family and friends time over the New Year. The buildings were nice, the museums interesting, the foreign food a novelty, but it was the time in all the kitchens we visited that I valued most, the time in the lounges having discussions, the incidental moments like having cups of tea and biscuits together. The feeling of togetherness and connection.
It’s also meeting new people who love those you love. People who see the same things you do in those people, and who are delighted to meet you because you love the ones they do.
And now we have come home, and the delight in that has been seeing those we love here. Seeing friends who are embarking on new lives together and others who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of new life.
It makes me think of a song I like – All This Love If You Need It- Angus and Julia Stone
‘There’s this love if you need it// There’s all this love if you need it// All of me is all for you // You’re all I see’