We’re Closer When She’s Further | My E-relationship with my Mom


Some of you may know by now that I’m half American (…it’s my bigger half). My mom, Kathleen, grew up in Rhode Island USA; your quintessential American sweetheart – she proudly held positions as Junior & Senior prom queen as well as head cheerleader for Michigan University. She still has the full-American accent to this day (imagine it… “Julie, what are you doing this weekend? Oh that sounds super!”). Mom’s peers and family were awe-struck when, after college, she announced she was going to was travel to Australia to do ‘one year’ of exchange primary-school teaching here in Oz… which resulted in 30 years, a husband and three kids Down Under. Bless my mother for leaving her entire family, brothers, sisters and friends – for love, I’ll be forever grateful (…clearly, if not for this I wouldn’t even be alive today!).

As us kids have grown up and set up our own lives, my mom enjoys spending her time travelling between USA and Australia, essentially chasing the sun; spring/summer USA then spring/summer OZ. Someone once told me ‘never trust someone who has a tan all-year round’ but my mom is living-proof that this saying is unwarranted… totes tanned and trustworthy.

Over the past few years I’ve noticed an unexpected & interesting trend… that my mom and I tend to communicate far more often when she’s actually abroad. When she’s away, we chat on Facebook, ‘like’ each-others pictures/posts, send emails back and forth; and make contact in one way or another about 8-10 times a week. Conversely, when she’s back home with us in Australia; I’ll go to her house once a week or once a fortnight and the online communication tends to ease-off, almost entirely. Originally I thought this might be because she doesn’t know how to use the computer at our house in Australia – but then I just began to understand that perhaps when we feel physically further apart, our desire to ‘be close’ is stronger. I think we feel compelled to e-connect more frequently knowing we don’t have the physical; one-on-one contact that allows for so much more expression & sharing.

We are literally ‘closer’ when she’s further and although I can’t hear the American-accent through the keyboard (she hasn’t learned Skype yet); I’ll be forever grateful for Zuckerberg’s creation, which allows us to continue our relationship & peek into one another’s lives as often as we like; or in some cases, need.


Do you have this experience in your life, where you connect with people more who live abroad?


3 Responses

  1. Kathleen Butler Longano

    December 7, 2012 10:38 am

    Dec 6th 2012….lol Ive used SKYPE for yrs now Julie!! I love the video and audio interaction….better than webcam!!
    love Mommy in Rhode Island….

  2. Emmanuel rey

    December 7, 2012 11:26 am

    I do experience the same with my family (very big, 8 bros and sis + 22 nephews and nieces all scattered around the world). In our case, I would think that we actually share more when we write to each other 1) because essentially we are shy people and some things are easier to write than to say 2) when we are physically together, you can feel the vibe and hence words become less essential. That being said, Skype is even a bigger blessing for me than FB especially for my parents (90 and 86 years old), I can then see how they really are and not rely what they tell me. The one thing I know is that we should never miss an occasion to tell our parents how much we love them. Fuck stiff upper lips and embarrassment.

    • Julie Anne

      December 7, 2012 6:36 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to make this comment Emmanuel. This is interesting that it’s actually easier to communicate with writing! I agree with you, fuck the stiff upper lips! Miss you!
      p.s. I think we communicate more when we are abroad but I miss our evening dinners with Suzanne x


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