Friday, May 1, 2015

"You're So Far Away," but Technology Helps

Today is my eldest grandchild's 12th birthday. For a number of reasons, I have been unable to see this grandchild and the sibling, who was four months old the last I saw them. The major hurdle is the 1,200 miles apart we live. The inability to see them has me thinking about pioneer days.
We have read stories or books, or watched shows or movies, about the days of families heading west with a wagon train or mail-order brides leaving the east to move to the frontier. Back in the days of stagecoaches or "iron horses," when someone left their family in the east, there was a very good chance they would never see each other again. The trip was long, arduous, and expensive. Communication was by written letter or, rarely, telegraph.
Thankfully, today, we have other, faster means of communication. The elder child and I have spoken on the phone and are Facebook friends. We private chat with each other there. The younger one is averse to talking on telephones and, therefore, really does not know who I am - we are not Facebook friends.
I watch them grow through posted pictures. I love seeing these leggy children who look so much like their father, who is six-feet-tall and 140 pounds. Now that the eldest is almost a teenager, I will talk to my eldest son about setting up a Google Chat session so I can see and speak to this one, and perhaps the youngest, so we can learn more about each other. 

For these reasons, I am grateful for technology. (I am typing this on the new computer, which works so much better than the old one.) If this was 150 years ago, we might be able to exchange a picture once or twice in a lifetime. We have the ability to visually chat with each other, seeing smiles or tears or laughter. Facial cues are important to communication.

If you want to see what I look like, check out the picture at the top right. If you leave a comment, I might be able to see what you look like, too.