May 25, 2010

The Family Tree

hayjo_bigboy3 weeks. That’s how long our newest family member has been in our lives. Oh, wait… 3.5 weeks. Bloody hell, I look away from the calendar for a minute and 5 days go by. I don’t even remember what month we’re in.

Regroup. Back on topic.

Version 2.0 has wound his way around our hearts in little time, and is becoming more and more alert every day. I love watching him look around, usually with furrowed brow, wondering what the heck he got himself into. If only he really, really knew what a crazy crew he’d joined.

My family has been tremendous since his birth. Everyone has been so generous and chipped in to help in one way or another, spoiling the kids and us, bringing food or just entertaining Version 1.0 while we adjust to two. (Particularly important for her to have all that attention lavished on her because she is clearly a child of my own flesh and blood and thrives on being the centre of everyone’s attention.) We’re going to be forever grateful for having had that assistance during these first few weeks. Now that Grammy and Grampy are heading back home tomorrow, life’s going to get a little weird and crazy again.

For whatever reason (and I don’t think this is particularly strange), I want my children to have a close family. I want them to know their family, have close relationships with their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and be able to call or visit whenever the mood strikes. I lament the fact that Hubby’s parents are so far away that this can’t be reality quite yet, and we hope to have them here soon, but I’m looking for ideas on how to bring them closer when they are still physically far. Any ideas on traditions, routines, tools, techniques for staying connected with far away family? We love them very much and want the kids to know them well.

Are the roots of the family tree important in the development of our kids? Or, is this primarily contingent upon mom and dad and their immediate surroundings? How much interaction with extended family is required for that to be a strong influence in their lives? Can they achieve that same influence through letters, emails, phone calls, etc.? Even with my family only an hour away, it still means we don’t get much face time together.

I’m interested in ideas and thoughts around engaging with family that is far away. Or how to kidnap them so they can’t go home and are forced to stay with you forever.


Karla said...

Actually, my own extended family is a big, happy one that's spread out over Canada. We get together a few times a year, but that alone is not enough for real closeness (I find).

What really DID work was taking trips together. My parents would often drag along some random relative -- an aunt or cousin -- on an adventure, and we grew much closer as a result. (Isn't the rule about travelling together that, if you don't kill each other, you end up friends forever?) ;-)

To this day, these relatives are the ones I feel most bonded with, even when we don't see each other for months or years.

And given that I, too, feel it's important for my little guy to have a large network of loving family, you can bet we'll be dragging people along on our family trips, too! :-D

Lexi said...

Two words: webcam & skype. Family's really important to us, too, and The Imp gets to "see" far-flung relatives on skype. We also spend quite a bit of time looking at family photos - he's a trifle obsessed with them. I make a family calendar every year with photos/birthdays/anniversaries etc on it. The Imp goes through it page by page & names everyone as he points at their photo. He's not quite two, but he knows who his family is!

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