Celebrating Mother’s Day when you live far away from family isn’t easy, but with a little creativity you can overcome the miles.
When I left my family in Chile 17 years ago, I didn’t realize how much I would miss being close to loved ones on special dates like Mother’s Day. This year, my mom and my 90-year-old grandma will be in Santiago and my other abuelita will be in Houston, Texas. I need to show all of them love — even if I cannot hug them in person.
I know many of you share the same challenges, so here are a few tips to help you create meaningful moments using Skype:
- Send a video message instead of a traditional greeting card. Just open the Skype app on any device (smart phone, tablet or computer), select who you want to message, tap “video message,” press “record” and deliver your message. You can record in advance – with as many redo’s as you need – and save to send on the special day! (A great idea if you have young children and prefer to record a greeting when they are full of energy and in a good mood!)
- Enlist your kids to help. Invite your kids to join your call to grandma and make it especially memorable. A fun idea: ask them to sing their favorite song! Even better: use the Skype app on your Smart TV, tablet, smartphone or computer to do a video call, and have your kids do a special dance routine to their favorite music.
- Take a walk down memory lane. Find pictures of when you were a child with the special “moms” in your life. Save them in a folder on your computer and share via IM while you voice or video call each of them on Mother’s Day.
- Plan a group video surprise. If you have a large family, surprise your grandmother by planning a group video call with your siblings and cousins at a specific time. That way she won’t just hear your voice, she will get to see many of her loved ones. It will surely brighten her day!
- Don’t forget stepmothers! We often think people know how we feel about them and forget to tell them. Call your stepmom early in the day so she knows she’s a priority to you, too. Share a special memory with her and tell her how much she means to you.
- A tip for Dads. For men, splitting time between Mom and the mother of their children can be challenging — both deserve the day to be celebrated. Technology can be an invaluable ally. Rather than a store-bought greeting card, create a personalized photo card for Mom and share it via IM. You can watch her reaction over video chat as she opens it.
I love the way communication tools like Skype can help you feel close to those you love, no matter the distance. However you decide to celebrate, have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!
Jeannette Kaplun is an internationally recognized parenting expert, author and founder of HispanaGlobal.net.