Stay Close To Your Parents (Even from Afar)

Stay Close To Your Parents (Even from Afar)
Relationships take work. Not exactly breaking news, but a fact we often forget, especially when it comes to family. Take Mom and Dad for example. They’ll always be there for you; they have to, it’s their parental duty. And now that we’re all grown up we have an opportunity to be there for them, too -- not out of duty, but out of love. Check out these nine suggestions for building and maintaining a friendship with your parental figures.
Stay Close To Your Parents (Even from Afar)

Parents Within 100 Miles


Take up a sport such as doubles tennis or an adult dance class. A little physical activity is (duh!) good for both of you. The regularly scheduled practices and/or exhibitions will provide segues into bonding, shared memories, and post-activity refreshment.
Regularly take a tea-tasting excursion together. Take turns designing an outing that corresponds to your favorite tea blend. Plan to drink mint tea in a colonial herb garden. Our Reading Nook Blend would taste delightful at a library.
Share the light stuff. Most people are pretty good about filling their family in on the big stuff such as weddings, graduations, and medical issues. What we forget to relate are the everyday happenings even when we see someone several times a month. To keep local parents involved in your life, make an effort to periodically share a funny story about work, the movie you just saw, or something that reminded you of them.
Stay Close To Your Parents (Even from Afar)

Parents More Than 100 Miles Away


Share a diary. My daughter lives1,200 miles away and I hate missing out on the funny way she expresses her view of the world. To help me keep up with what’s on her mind we share the question and answer book Coke or Pepsi? Amazingly Awesome Questions 2 Ask Your Friends. We take turns filling out two pages and mailing it back and forth. Pick up a similar book to share with your parents or, if you prefer a more adult version, tackle a “Photo a Day” challenge and save the pictures in a shared album online.
Do an activity “together” apart. If you and a loved one share an interest, but distance keeps you from doing it together, then make an appointment to do it simultaneously. Skype while you watch the same movie; go for a hike, then call at a designated stopping point to chat about your respective trails and enjoy a snack together; make a coffee date.
Automatically sign in to chat. In response to a question of staying close to far-away family on ASK MetaFilter, an online question and answer community, a member offered this suggestion:
“My mom figured out how to use ichat/gchat, as well as Skype and Facebook chat several years ago, and I set my accounts to log me in whenever I turn on my computer. That way, it'll sit there running quietly in the background and if my parents want to talk to me, they can. It doesn't cost me anything in terms of conscious effort.”
Stay Close To Your Parents (Even from Afar)

Parents Anywhere


Learn something new and exchange the results. Crochet, photography, cake decorating, etc. We’ve got some great ideas for you here. Pick a new skill to learn together (even if you’re apart) and give or send each other the result. There will be laughter. There will be tears. And there will be bonding.
Make each other mix-tape style CDs. Do you know what your mom’s favorite song was her freshman year in high school? What album did your dad play on repeat for three months straight? Would either of your parents know what you meant if you quoted lyrics from the indie band you love? Get the DL on their favorite LPs by asking for a list of songs they loved, and clue them in with a custom mix of your own.
Set a mutual goal and share your progress. Lose weight, run a 5k, learn to make a five course meal from recipes in the Joy of Cooking. Check in with each other regularly to compare notes, share your misadventures, and gloat about triumphs.
The keys to a strong bond are routine and consistency. In other words, everyone has to make room for each other on their schedules. That applies to conversations as well as activities. Talk often and show an interest in your parents’ lives. After a bit your exchanges will become a natural part of your life.
Photo Credits: Alex Proimos, Amazon.com, and LornaWatt.

Janice Bear

Janice Bear is still a girl despite her 30-something years. She laughs too loud, talks too much, and is certain her hair has a mind of its own. While unsure of what she wants to be when she grows up, she's positive the search will be a 5-star dramedy. Catch her when you can at Never a Plain Jane.
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