Doing family long-distance

So I’ve been living away from Sydney since February 2011 and I’ve got used to the whole distance thing, mostly. It’s tough and I miss my mum a lot, but I choose to see the bright side rather than the negative one. I have friends who live overseas whose parents make them feel really guilty about their decisions, and approach the fact that their offspring live far away as something their kid has “done to” them, which is not fair. You raise your kids to give them as many opportunities as you can and then they have to make their own choices. I’m lucky that my mum insists that I mustn’t feel guilty about being far away, even though at times I do. She’s very supportive and she always has been, and in some ways my being far away has done several great things for us:

At Tokyo DisneySea

At Tokyo DisneySea

We’ve been able to travel together

In 2011, mum came to Europe for the first time to visit me. I got to show her around the Edinburgh Fringe festival, showed her around Brighton and saw some theatre with her in London. She then went off on a cruise through central Europe and I met her in Paris. In 2012 we spent two weeks together in Japan, meeting halfway between Sydney and London. In February and March of this year I stayed at home with her and it was really lovely. Later this year, she’s coming for another extended stay in the UK. We would never have done those things together had I stayed in Sydney.

We spend a lot of time talking

We Skype about 2-3 times a week and spend a long time talking. When I was at home, we may not have been able to spend as much face-to-face talk time. We hung out a lot, sure, but actual conversation was probably less than it currently is. I’m so grateful there is a free way to talk to her via video. When my older brothers lived in London in the mid-90s, we’d hear from them once every few months, maximum. This is truly the best time to be alive.

We get to be creative

When you can’t be with someone, you come up with great ways to show you care. Like, for Christmas last year, mum sent me an incredible bed-throw that she’d made with a whole lot of different fabrics (she and I used to make costumes together, so I recognised the different fabrics from different costumes – very special). And today was Mother’s Day, so last night I made her this little video of a day out in Paris (I’m pretty chuffed with my mad video editing skillz).

So yes, it can definitely be really difficult and there are times when being away is really hard and times (like when I was sick recently) that you just want your mum to give you a hug, but there are upsides if you create them.