We did goodbyes today with the family. It was great to be together and just enjoy the company. I’ve missed that physicality of being together during COVID. While going online has kept us safe its a diminished experience when it comes to family, because so much of those relationships are about proximity and closeness.
You don’t get to smell the laundry detergent on the kids clothes over Zoom and make the connection that other family members share that smell. You don’t get to find the little spot under your nieces arms that makes her involuntarily laugh and giggle on FaceTime. You don’t get to feel the subtle movements of a baby that helps steer you to where they want you to be online and by distance.
Family is high fidelity. They need to be felt and experienced, not viewed and discussed. You need to be there for the tears and sorrow so you can appreciate the laughs later on.
I’ve lived away from family for stretches and I love how elastic it is to come back to them. You snap straight back into place. Thousands of kilometres and months that have passed just evaporate when we’re together.
Moving to Adelaide, that distance is more notable, especially for my daughter. This his first experience of that space and it’s been hard. We can’t replicate it today no matter how hard we try. FaceTime and the like have made staying connected easier, but it’s not a replacement nor does it help build those bonds and connections. I love technology but it isn’t really family friendly. It can’t ever do what a BBQ or a fire bucket or an afternoon sitting on the deck can do.
(For many that’s an unpleasant experience as many families aren’t happy places. I understand that – but for me its a real joy.)