Better With Face Time

Nothing replaces in person meetings or get togethers. Family events – as you can imagine, are always better with face time.

Today, our family said a formal farewell to my grandfather. While I could not be in Arizona with the entire extended family and my parents, I was able to get together with my sisters and our kids.

It was not the same, but it was the best we could do… It is never better to live life over a long distance. Just try making a relationship like that work

However, I will express my heartfelt thanks to my sisters for making it work today. It wasn’t easy. The kids had to stay home from school just a day before Thanksgiving break begins.

The fact that we could do this today explains how truly lucky we are… but we are definitely hoping that we can pull off a bigger gathering some day soon – or even next year if we can get most of us to Arizona or somewhere tropical?!?

We all need time to share our fondest memories.

Families who separate with great distances between them don’t get the same experience. Maybe that works for some. Not for me. As someone posted to me after hearing that my grandfather had passed away last month, “I know how much family means to you.” I thought for a minute. True. But…

Doesn’t it mean everything to everyone else?

I may have had a different experience growing up. When I was born, I was fortunate enough to have 2 full sets of grandparents and 4 great-grandparents, too. Not to mention 5 aunts and 3 uncles – not counting “grands”. All 4 of my grandparents and 2 of my husbands’ were at our wedding…My great-Ma had passed away just a few months before or she would have joined us, too…

I grew up spending summers with family – whether in NJ or that fabulous 2 month stay in Arizona with my younger sister and then flying home “solo” aka “unaccompanied children” (I guess you could do that back then!) Before we left, we had one adventure after another. After that, there couldn’t have been enough trips to visit…and indeed, there weren’t. Even going there in my twenties, visiting friends and family – seeing the Grand Canyon as an adult brought back floods of memories. Performing “Coming to America” in our fanciest dresses and learning piano from our grandmother – who taught students all summer to supplement music teacher and band director incomes – or maybe just because she liked to know that kids would learn what she had to share.

As many of you know, or should know, I am not the most musically inclined of my family in terms of talent. Really – you don’t want to hear me sing… but I can plunk out a few tunes on our piano and sing in key if assisted by a stronger member of choir. (Mary Beth, I tried so hard… I even took vocal lessons.)

Therefore, I appreciate that my kids at least take after my dad’s family. A junior in the concert choir (where we were when I wrote this blog, no it hadn’t started… I was waiting for it to start), a drummer who has been playing more than half his life – he started when he was 6!  Last but not least, an avid summer stocker, actor and singer who just can’t wait to hear what they decide to perform in July and is known to sing in the shower (every day…)

It’s been a great year, celebrating our family…even with the loss of my two remaining grandparents. First, Ralph in January and now Bill, in October. I am quite thankful that we had 10 huge days of adventure in Ireland and Paris with Bill this spring. A trip he wanted to take before he left this earth… giving me, and especially my kids, more memories with him – not quite enough – but a lot of really good days.

We couldn’t have done half of what we’ve done without the time and effort family have sacrificed.

Today…even with the latest technology – which is truly amazing (those roving screens that can stroll over to a desk and meet up with some one in a pseudo face-to-face exchange) I have to say, it is always better with face time and therefore, I am waiting, with great anticipation of our next group outing, gathering and holiday. Two more days to Thanksgiving – just 2 more days… (Yes, I can count – they arrive on Wednesday!)

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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