Staying in Touch with Skype
I owe a lot to Skype.
When I first met my fiance', we were living in 2 different states, 1800 miles apart to be exact, with him in southern California and me in southern Louisiana. And we stayed that way for almost 2 years before I was able to move to California with my daughter. So how does a couple survive a long-distance relationship?
We had standing Skype dates. Every night after I put my daughter to bed I would log on to Skype to video chat with my fiance'. He was usually just home from work on the West Coast, and eating dinner. I would chat his ear off about my day while he ate his Panda Express (I'm proud to say that since I moved here 8 months ago he has only eaten Panda Express 3 times total. That was his weekly norm as a bachelor!) and then when he finished he would tell me about his day. Sometimes we both had work to do - I am almost always on a deadline - so we would leave video on while we sat quietly together and worked. It always made me feel good to know that if I was missing him, I could simply switch screens and see his handsome face. Then we would chat some more before I got ready for bed.
Here's the sticky sweet, romantic part - after I got ready for bed, I would blow him a kiss goodnight, crawl into bed, and turn off the lights. I'd leave my Skype Video Call open and we would sleep with Skype on - so it was like we were sleeping next to each other. The nice thing is, barring any internet hiccups, we could also say hello each morning before starting our day.
That was our routine and it kept us connected between visits. While there is no replacement for seeing someone in person, we often said that if we didn't have Skype, we might not have made it through. It made the days infinitely easier.
He might kill me for sharing this, but I found this photo that I took of the screen one morning after we had said good morning for the day, taken in March of 2011. It makes me smile because Skype was, and still is, such a huge part of our life.
I say that Skype is still a part of our life because now that my daughter and I have moved to California, we are 1800 miles away from all of our family. Now instead of using Skype to stay connected with my fiance', we use it as a way for our two kids to stay connected to their grandparents.
This year on Christmas morning, my parents connected to Skype and watched Banks and Audrey Grace open their presents for a solid 2 hours. Before that, they had watched their grandsons in Illinois do the same thing for 2 hours. I'm not going to lie - it's not always easy - I was often moving the computer around to make sure they had the best view - but overall it was a really great way to involve them in something they weren't there to witness.
Even my grandparents have figured out how to Skype - they have a laptop that they sit on their kitchen table so that they can talk to their great-grandchildren. I'm telling you - if they can do it, anyone can do it. So let's see, thanks to video chatting we are able to connect with family in Connecticut, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Not bad.
Of course, Skyping with kids is not exactly easy. I've tried everything to get the kids to sit still in front of the camera for 5 minutes. They love to get really close to the camera so their loving grandparents can all but see up their noses. What is it about kids seeing themselves on camera that turns them into a ball of silly energy? And of course, my daughter only wants to ask about the dogs and cats - she says hello to her poor grandmother for a moment and then asks "Where is Billy?" or "Has Cosmo been good or has she been running out in the street again?"
I've resorted to bribery. I have a secret stash of Hershey's Kisses specifically for Skyping. One for each fully cooperative minute. Does that make me a bad parent? No. It makes me a resourceful one. (At least, that's what I tell myself to feel ok about the whole thing.)
Considering how far video calls have come, I think we are going to see even more improvement soon. For instance, the Galileo, which was recently funded at over 7 times what they hoped for on Kickstarter, solves the problem of keeping track of kids moving around and out of the screen because whoever is on the receiving end will be able to move the camera to keep track of them!
Have you used Skype to connect with your loved ones? What's your story?
Main image via Sujal on Flickr