When Caidin was born, I made a commitment to be fully present for him as he grew up. I put speaking on hold for the first two years. I tried returning to speaking in 2006 when I was invited to speak at the Teton Wellness Festival. I went. It was a short trip of four days but it was too hard on everyone. While I was away Caidin got sick and everyone was just miserable. So I decided I would just put speaking on hold until Caidin was older. Instead, I found ways to reach a larger audience right from home using tele-conferencing and web-conferencing technology.
But this summer when I was invited to go to India to give four talks, work with some high school kids and officiate a wedding ceremony, it was hard to say ‘no’.
I planned very carefully. My mother offered to come and stay for the ten days, a parent from Caidin’s school offered to pick Caidin up in the morning and his return from school was covered by the bus. I put together six snack bags, one for each school day I would be away, so all my Mom had to do was make his sandwich and toss the bag of snacks into his lunch bag.
My biggest concern was the way in which Caidin would experience my absence. I sat and meditated about it and what I got was that not being able to see me would be the hardest. Skype might be the answer!
Before I left, I set up Caidin’s tablet with SKYPE, created a family user name for him to access and showed him how to use it.
He reveled in walking around the house, Skyping me from various locations. Being eight, he had some challenges understanding that he had to point the camera at himself, so I had a lot of images of the floor, the wall, his nose, but he loved it.
We had a plan for when I was in India. I would call ever morning at 7:00 AM ET, that was 5:30 PM in India. I called it my ‘date’, no matter what I was doing, I stopped and called Caidin via Skype.
It worked so well and was so simple, and FREE! that I took to calling home in the evening too.
I think Caidin actually liked the evening call better, merely because by the time it was evening in New York, it was already the next day in India and he just thought this was something, that it could be one day where he was and the next day where I was.
We Skyped ever day. He gave me air hugs and gave him kisses.
The time went by so quickly and he did great.
He didn’t tell me that he ‘totally’ missed me’ until I said, ‘OK, this is it, I’m coming home tomorrow. I’ll pick you up from school!’ It was then that he said ‘oh my gosh, you have no idea how much I totally miss you.’
My husband picked me up at the airport at 4:30 in the morning and we got home early enough to be able to take Caidin to school, although I was really blurry eyed. Caidin hugged me so tight and hugged me the whole way into the school.
I would give up speaking all over again to be there for Caidin during those early years; but I am so happy to know that I can now go away and still feel and be connected to him. I can still support him and be a part of his day.
Of all the technology that has evolved over the past 8 years, Skype, for me is one of the best tools.
(c) 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is the founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide(TM), a free membership site for parents interested in Conscious Parenting.
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