© 2009 Marica

104 – Belated birthday presents

Imagine … it’s late at night here in Wellington and I’m sitting in bed working on my laptop. At the same moment it’s morning in London and my daughter, Zofia, is sitting on her bed with her laptop. We are on the opposites sides of the world and we are communicating effortlessly as though we are in the same room.

Our conversation starts with text chat using MSN Messenger. Part of the conversation goes like this …

Me: “Did I tell you we got our first parcel from you yesterday – the birthday one.”
Me: “Haven’t opened any of the presents.”
Zofia: “You should!”
Marica: “Will leave it until Xmas day.”
Zofia: “They are not for Xmas!!”
Marica: “Are the two pressies for me?”
Zofia: “Yes.”
Marica: “Shall I do it now?”
Zofia: “Open them!! Please!”
Zofia: “Can I watch you open them on skype?”
Marica: “Ok will go and get them.”
Zofia: “Ok.”

After a few moments…
Marica: “Am trying to phone you”
Marica : “On skype”

We stopped text chatting as we connected to a skype video call. Being able to see each other as we talked is an added bonus.

Zofia proceeded to give me instructions on opening my presents. From the first parcel emerged some CDs of Croatian music along with copies of video messages from our family in Croatia to my parents. The second parcel was bigger. It was soft and squishy to the touch. After removing the wrapping paper I was faced with layer upon layer of bubble wrap until finally I discovered a wooden hand carved angel Zofia had bought me while visiting Krakow in Poland (the homeland of her father’s family). My angel looked so at home amongst the pile of bubble wrap – floating amongst the clouds. She had made her way to me in one piece and she didn’t look any the worse for her long journey.

I squealed with delight.

“How did you know my new favourite colour is lime green?” I asked.

“I didn’t,” replied Zofia.

“Well it is and I love her.”

As I looked at Zofia and she looked at me no words needed to be spoken. We were both enjoying the moment even though we were phsycally separated. The only thing missing was that I couldn’t hug her and just hold her tight. I was excited by my gift and Zofia was pleased.

Skype, MSN, Facebook, email, mobile phones, blogging, online banking and online shopping are just some of the vital long distance parenting tools I am discovering I can’t live without. Also add in a good broadband connection, a laptop with in-built video camera, microphone and speakers, a digital camera, and a wireless network at home. I now consider these items essentials and not extras. As a parent I need to be wired up if I want to stay in touch with my children, my family and my friends. Being connected and technologically savvy is not an option anymore – it has become an essential part of the parenting toolkit.

I miss my girls a great deal and yet I still feel very connected to them because technology brings us together. We are close despite the distances that separate us.

Let’s face it, angels come in many different forms and via many different media these days. We are so lucky.

10. Every day connect with somebody.
33. Every day try something new.
41. Every day use your mind. It is the greatest technology ever created.

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