23 June 2009

Checking In


In the past several years, my family has developed a method of staying in touch. We call it the checking-in list. It started with me, my mom, my son, and my brother. When Mom and I would exchange email, we'd copy the boys on it. They didn't get it. Why would they want to read someone else's email messages?

So we dropped them and added my sisters. Each person's message went to all the others. Other people were gradually added, my mom's sisters - my aunts - and eventually their children. At some point, cousins of my mom and her sisters were added.

Now, most of what we report is mundane chit chat, but we stay well connected. And today, when people don't stay where they were born and a family can be spread all across the globe, staying connected is a pleasure.

Some people don't write very often. I'm one of those. I don't find much of my life interesting enough to report. Some people never write the group, or forward a joke a couple of times a year. One of my aunts writes a long message several times a week detailing her quilting, her goals, her housekeeping, her shopping, her clubs, and her church work. She does ten times more than I do in a week.

My other aunt writes a hurried message about once a week, but her life is more interesting than email, so she keeps it short. She's the sassy widow of the group. She lives right next door to my mother now, and that cuts down the number of check-ins they make.

Mom likes to forward religious pep-talks, military support, Maxine punchlines, chain letters, sisterhood messages, and rumors of computer viruses. My cousin reports on her son. Another reports on her dog and her job and her training. One of my sisters wanted to be taken off the list, and the other deletes without reading.

We exchange photos and recipes and advice. We keep track. It's a nice tradition.


8 comments:

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I think that's a great idea. You could even do a Yahoo group list (and set it to private), so that way, whoever wanted to participate could, and etc. Or if the email loop works for you all, stick with that. I love getting group email from my extended family. At least I always know what's going on.

powdergirl said...

My family does the same thing.
I usually send a cleaned up versions of something I've blogged about.
It's fun : )

amy grace said...

That's really cool. I wish my family were more tech-savvy. By the way, I loved your Virginia posts, very touching story and beautifully expressed. Keep writing!

The Green Stone Woman said...

It's a nice habit that you all have, but I suppose you keep it very superficial and don't get down to the nitty gritty of life. I personally don't have such an extended family to keep in touch with and it would bother me to say, "Hi, I'm fine, I went grocery shopping today and got mackerel on sale," and not talk about the deeper issues that concern me. I do not like getting jokes and inspirational messages forwarded to me or those chain letters that you have to send to ten friends or you'll have bad luck. I always delete those.

SugarCain said...

ETW, Oh, I'd hate to try to teach them something new. They've come so far from when they could only reply to an email message but not initiate one.

powdergirl, I never thought of sending blog posts. I expect them to come here and read it. They pretend to.

Thanks, amy grace. I wasn't sure how people would like my Virginia story.

Irene, we are alike that way. I have little patience with the everyday chit chat and prefer to talk about deeper issues. I suppose I am a little too self-absorbed these days. I also hate the chain letters and jokes. At one time I had people convinced that those messages clogged up my in-box and were somehow dangerous, but they wised up. I often just delete them without reading, even though I think some people are cheered by those kind of messages.

Thank you all for coming by.

Maggie May said...

That sounds a cosy family way of keeping together and I really admire that as these days families are not as close as they used to be.
Email is a wonderful invention & so id blogging.
Thanks for following me.

Fragrant Liar said...

I like that you all do that, though I can see how it would get overwhelming after awhile. I'm overwhelmed with email on a daily basis. What I've started doing though is saving all the emails my mother and father send me. I wish they were hand-written letters instead, but we are in the 21st Centure, and people just would rather type (I would too - it's faster and I'm way busy). I know I will be glad I have my parents' emails after they are gone.

Lilly said...

What a great idea that is. I dont do it and should. I have started to use Skype though a lot more. Being connected is important and arent we lucky that have the technology do so. By the way I would like your opinion as a journalist on the last post I did. Getting the perspective of someone who knows about the industry might be good.