Virtual Hug…Downloaded

My Zach...
My eldest son lives many hours away in Dallas, Texas and I have not looked upon his flesh and blood face in over a year. 

I have a case of the Momma’s separation anxiety disorder.

Living far away from family is not a new thing, but in this vast world it seems more and more families are spread apart. Employment, life opportunities, hurricanes, all sends our kids, or parents away.

I want to be back on Walton’s Mountain.

Can’t we get back to the Walton’s model of family? Where you live and die in the same house, grandma and grandpa just move over and all the kids grow up and bring in their

Walton s Under One roof
offspring? No one leaves the roost. It is one roof, one family with many branches of the tree all underneath. One mortgage and lots of babysitters! Just think, only one electric bill, but oh, what a bill! Better yet, one cable bill!

For many of my growing up years, I envisioned a happily ever after that included a one house family. It was good enough for the rich people on Dynasty, granted, they had wings for each family group and not a tiny bedroom off the hall. 

I envisioned calling out, “Goodnight PawPaw! Goodnight Joe! Goodnight nameless children to be! Goodnight John Boy!”

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A friend of mine told how her distant relatives lived in Taiwan where the whole family lived in a three story building. The bottom level was for cooking and living while each story was a room for each family. Everyone contributed.

In our American lifestyle, we do something similar, or maybe it is a Southern thing where kids just move a trailer next to Mom and Dad’s house, or their trailer and you build up a commune. My dad built a house next to his parents, and my aunt and uncle moved in lots adjacent to my parents. So, we had family all around us growing up which meant I had cousins to play with. 

Now that my Mom is widowed, it’s having that family nearby that has been her salvation, especially since I live six hours away.

My brother took it a step further and built a self-contained apartment onto my parent’s home when he was newly married and was in school. My dad was disabled and it was a way for my brother to watch over the homestead and be independent at the same time. 

But for the most part, kids in America move away. The world is big place, full of adventure and opportunity not offered in their hometown.

My relocation came after Hurricane Katrina when I moved with my husband’s job. I love my new community even while missing my home. It’s the simple things like not being able to go over for Sunday dinner anymore. My homesickness is only cured by a quick trip down, to see my kinfolk face to face.

Even then, my eldest lived in Hattiesburg, and my frequent trips down to South Mississippi would grant me my Momma’s hug and a scan of my son’s face to make sure he was doing ok. I could tell if he was eating right, staying out too late, or if he was weary of life’s struggles or encouraged by opportunities coming his way. 

One look was all it took.  

My tiny son
Oh, but now, we have so much technology. For Christmas, my son’s handsome but virtual face was on our Christmas table, sharing in opening presents hundreds of miles away. Yes, it was better than a phone call, yes, we could see each other, but oh, it was a deficient system which allowed for no human contact. 

You can’t hug an IPad.

Today, my son’s experiencing sadness; a surrogate family who has taken him in for “real” holiday dinners and family gatherings is experiencing a life struggle of their own. My son knows the loss of a parent and these times do bring up past pains. I can hear the hurt in his voice and even in his texts.

So, today I sent my son a virtual hug. They were just words, texted over the cell towers that bring us together miles and miles apart. 

His response made me tear up, “Virtual hug…downloaded.”

That will have to do.

Challenging, satisfying, exasperating, encouraging, disheartening, frustrating, joyful, guilt ridden, and angry: the daily emotions of being a Mom. 

God's arms
Well, at least I stay connected to God because my son maybe out of my reach, but with my constant nagging to a Holy God, he is not out of Jesus’ arm length. 


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