Our quarantine life is in full swing and the end is not clear yet. As a family, we have learned how to connect with our parents, siblings, and cousins since we can’t be with them. With a bit of creativity and planning, we have been able to stay connected with our extended families.
Cultivating connections with family is not one size fits all. Each of our relationships are different, and individuals have preferences on how they best communicate and feel loved. We have used Zoom, FaceTime, texting, snail mail, phone calls, and grocery runs to nurture our family ties.
Living close to my parents has enabled me to see them weekly. I go out once a week to do grocery shopping for our household and theirs. It is nice to be able to help my parents out in this way and have an excuse to see them.
Our weekly schedule overlapped quite a bit with my parents’ life, so it has been an adjustment to curtail our meetups.
California Care package
After one particularly frustrating grocery run, I came home to a box at our door. I was so grateful that my brother-in-law’s family sent us a box full of California avocados. Mike and I split an avocado each day so they are a staple in our home.
Our local stores have run low on avocados and our favorite produce. This care package was a practical blessing as well as a morale boost. It is encouraging to know that others are thinking of you and spreading joy.
Texas Care Package
My girls were in fabric heaven when they received a care package from my aunt in Texas. They have been sewing up a storm these last few weeks and we’re running low on fabric. My girls were encouraged to have all new materials. They have made face masks, sleepy bears, costumes, and a guitar with plans to keep on sewing.
My heart was full because of this thoughtful care package, which also included a 1000 piece puzzle. The same night we opened the box; we started the puzzle. It is a blessing to receive gifts that everyone in the family enjoys.
Before the quarantine, we would talk with our extended family over video chat but never with more than one family member at a time. It has been fun to have multiple families connect over video.
The dynamic is different with so many people on video chat. The girls love to have their own screens and contribute to the conversations. Just having kids and babies on the call brings a lightness and energy that adult conversations don’t usually have.
I appreciate a less formal form of conversation. I like having the video set up so I can still be making dinner or loading the dishes.
The vibe on these calls is more like hanging out in my family room. As an introvert who does not love video chats, these are less intimidating and less draining.
Social media has been an easy way for us to stay connected with family members. It is great getting a peek at what their days look like in the different parts of the country. I enjoy watching my niece and nephew grow even when I can’t see them in person.
The benefit of social media is I can check in when I have time and it doesn’t have to be a scheduled interaction. It is encouraging to see what people are doing to pass their time. It seems like all my family members are baking the best things ever which inspires me.
Between cards + gifts, sweet care packages, phone calls, texts to check-in, and thoughtful social media interactions. I have felt blessed by all our extended family members. Each interaction has come at just the right time. The days can feel long, but then a surprise is always just around the corner.
Cultivating connections with the extended family has eased the transition into quarantine life. One of my go-to gifts to bless others with is Tala Coffee. It is my favorite coffee and local to the Chicago area. Thinking of others, helps me get out of my own situation and put others first. It only takes a minute to drop a note in the mail or order up a surprise for someone else.
I also remind myself to apply The Art of Gratitude to keep my spirits lifted when I am not able to connect with family. Focusing on what I am grateful for instead of what my life is missing makes the day more fulfilling. All of the summer family gatherings have been canceled or postponed yet I have so much to be grateful for.
How have you cultivated connections with your extended family?
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