Sunday, December 23, 2007

Staying Connected

I sit here and stare at the empty box on my blog screen and can't even think of what to say.
This is all new to me. This blogging thing is pretty incredible when you think about it. It wasn't so long ago when I first heard the term "blog". I remember thinking, "what the heck is a blog?"
A local soldier was "blogging" about his experiences in Iraq to the people at home and his blogs were being published in the local newspaper. I remember thinking what a great idea that was. Blogging and e-mail are in my opinion 2 of the best things about the internet. What a great way for family and friends to stay connected. About 10 years ago, (wow, has it been that long?) e-mail became a vital part of my life and the life of my in-laws. When my kids were younger and my husband's parents were still with us, we e-mailed nearly every day. We wrote what we often referred to as "the dailies". These were letters back and forth about the daily grind. I would talk about what the kids and I had done each day, visits to the park, the beach, school events, and all the silly and not so silly things they were up to. Being able to send pictures over the internet was the best so that we could see how all the kids were growing. We could see how Cathy's garden was growing and Carol's place on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Butch could send us pictures of his progress with the airplane he was building. (Note: unfortunately the newly finished airplane was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina). I used to love getting my sister-in-law Cathy's gardening stories, even though she thought they were pretty boring. They were always dealing with critters getting into their gardens and some of the deterrents they would use were amusing, especially the ones of Alex fighting off snakes with a stick and pine-sol spray. Oma loved getting her e-mail every night so she could hear about what the kids were up to. If for some reason I didn't get around to writing for a couple of days she would call and want to know when her next story was coming. It didn't matter how insignificant it might seem to me, it meant a lot to her and Opa. They said it made them feel like they were more a part of our lives and that was very important to them. As the kids got a little older, they were able to e-mail their own notes to Oma and Opa. That wasn't always a good thing for me. I got a call from Oma one day that Sara had written her a note about me and that she was told what a mean momma I was because she had gotten in trouble. We giggled over that one for a while. Then as Oma and Opa grew older and their health failed, e-mail became a lifeline. Oma and Opa had a growing list of health problems which left them in need of a lot of assistance. As we were the only family that lived in the same city, it was up to us to take on a good bit of the responsibility for a while. We shopped for them, did housecleaning, repairs from time to time, took them to doctors appointments and sometimes just a social visit to let the kids spend time with their grandparents. As their health declined and more specialized care was needed, and more frequent visits to check on them, I e-mailed other family members almost daily with news of how their parents were really doing. I kept them informed about what doctors were saying, medicines they were taking, discontinuing, and changing. They called them often, but Oma and Opa weren't always forthcoming with information. So it was up to me to give the real scoop. Now Oma and Opa have passed, the kids are teenagers and our lives have gotten so much busier we we're not writing "the dailies" anymore and I miss that. I still have copies of a lot of those e-mails and from time to time I get them out and read them and wonder how I didn't lose my sanity. I think it was because through it all, we stayed connected by sharing with each other. Many years ago, the indians would sit around the campfire and share stories, there was a sense of family. Maybe we didn't sit around the campfire and share our stories, but we did sit around our PC's waiting for the next e-mail to come.