Global Family

Have anyone else wondered how in our life time we have moved from living in a society where your nuclear family was all easily accessible with family just down the road, to one were we now often need to get on a bus or a train or even, hop on a plane.

I grew up in a tiny mining village where doors were never locked, neigbours just knocked and walked in, family were often within walking distence. A one time on row of terraced houses each held one of my Dad's brothers and their family. the village doctor knew each and everyone, often having delivered half of the children running around. We had a village bonfire and could not easily skip off from school as someone would see you and report you to your Mum. The village copper came and knocked if you misbehaved and we could play whip and top in the street with out danger of being run over or kidnapped.
I left this behind, to young really, to understand the value in what i left behind. A city seemed more exciting. I came from this to the annoninimity of London town, where the person who lived next door usually changed each year as few put down real roots, so that same community value was no longer there. I married and raised children, my own and the states , and I re-created my own nuclear family from others I met. I was an older mum in the time of the 80's baby boom. After 27 years I lost my partner in life when my husband died and even though surrounded by wonderful family and friends you realise life has changed and you carry a vacuum and live with that loss which mean you are often alone even when in a crowd. We all adapt.
My children began to leave the nest as I and they grew older. We now had easy travel and so the family spread and so you find new ways to communicate and move from the face to face contact to that of the phone, and then the internet came along and so we use social media like facebook to keep in touch.
My son married and to an American and began his new life and left me and his brother behind. I discovered it was a fine line to "missing" him as we chatted more on the phone than perhaps we did when he said hello as he came in before he went out. We now had more to discuss in some ways and I could get at my phone instead of him hording it. I could actually find it as often he would walk off with it and I would long for the old style attached ones.
My friends wondered how I would cope when my grandson was born. Well I probably was more involved than I would have been had he lived down the road. I attended by SKYPE and was watching my grandson within minutes of his birth. Via skype I have walked with him in the park, chatted by skype over an Iphone with him at his pre school, read him stories and we play Thomas the tank with his "Maka" [ie me} making the train sounds as he pushes his engines around and when they crash his Maka has to be the emergency noise as the rescue crew arrive.
We fly planes and we have even eaten together with him feeding me pretend food which he blows on to cool when I say from the laptop it is toooo hot. He shows me his drawings with the correct side to the camera and often I baby sit to keep him occupied whilst his mum does some cooking.
I am a new species called the SKYPE A GRAN of this new global family. Anymore of you out there?

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Published in Home & Family


  1. Lina

    Good blog My – I’m not a skype type – yet, but one never knows…. the rest of the blog is all too familiar for a lot of us – I too grew up in a place where we knew everyone and didn’t even have a front door key!! anyway, you entered via and back door, and it didn’t have a key either…. Life moves on and we adapt,as we must….and life can still be pretty good, if we let it…. Lina xxxxx

    1. myhurtingback

      I never saw my own future being this way. I often laugh to myself as when the Skype rings you think we’re is the mirror, is my hair OK, are my teeth in. I recall a futuristic cartoon show when I was younger with characters who did that – now it’s reality not fantasy.

  2. nmod

    I bet you would give anything to have his little arms around your neck … Skype , PC and iPhone are all great gadgets to have …and a great comfort in situations like yours when loved ones live far away …

    1. myhurtingback

      I will be getting a few real life hugs and kisses next week. That is if he recognises me without my llap top frame. He often points to the Barefoot Contessa on the tv cookery programme and thinks it’s me cooking as we share a resemblance. Thanks for reading

    1. myhurtingback

      That was how I suppose most of us imagine our then distant future will be. I raised my boys with true sense of family and values. I instilled in them, especially as male, the knowledge to take control of nurturing those you wanted to remain in your life. I just forgot to say choose a woman in this country !!!!!

  3. Roseanne

    myhurtingback I am in a similar situation my son chose an Australian wife (she is perfect for him) and so my Grandchildren grow up on the other side of the world. I havent used skype, but it i wonderful hearing them on the telephone and the lovely photos I get regularly. I have been out there 3 times and so hope pennies allow another visit in the next year or so.

    1. myhurtingback

      My son and I have a strong relationship so i get lots of phone calls and his wife is great and also skypes me for a chat ….mind you it usually ends wiht my being used to keep my grandson occupied so she can go off and do something else. He is only two. Being a Skype a gran since birth its amazing as my son has video of him at months old laying on the floor looking at the lap top and trying to copy the sounds i was making to him. We truly interact, we play row the boat with him rocking in time with me as i sing to him, he has remembered that we did that during one of his visits during his first year. We play hiding from the lion with him laughing away as I pretend the lion is getting my toes. They have been over twice so far. They want me to go over there but their house has stairs and more stairs and not sure I could cope with sitting that long to get there and then face the drive from new york to connecticut. Going to live there is problem as health care an issue financially as my medication is free here. Not sure if i would loose my uk pension etc. Try skype its free and good – just make sure you look ok as its not the same as being unseen on a phone. x

    1. myhurtingback

      how does it work for you as i am sort of interested in how such relationships can form…i am amazed so far at how my grandson and i have got this close relationship with him coming to the computer camera to show me things, once grabbing camera to show me photos when he heard his dad telling me about them. he kisses the camera. he even knew when i stopped reading and tried to go without finishing the book. obviously this has been building from his birth and i wonder if it may stop as he gets older.