The Dixon family was terribly disappointed to learn that neither Kenny nor Rex would make it home for Christmas this year. Kenny is a student at Columbia University who couldn't afford the plane fare and Rex was scheduled to work with his Staten Island Coast Guard crew. Christmas would not be the same without these guys.
But wait! With Facetime we could bring them home--sort of!
Sandie set up computers on the dining room table and dialed the boys. VIOLA! There they were. We opened gifts, laughed and cried with them. And not just once but twice: first, on Christmas Eve when they opened their Christmas jammies AND again on Christmas morning when everyone was opening gifts. We laughed when Rex explained that he had locked himself in a room at the station so his buddies couldn't tease him about his gifts "from Santa." And we teared up when Kenny broke down about missing Christmas and his dog Summer licked his tears away. It wasn't flesh and blood, but it was close. The spaces they usually occupied on the couch next to their sister Sabrina opening gifts were not empty.
Later in the morning, nephew Perry called on Facetime from Virginia, and the whole extended family got to visit with Perry, his wife Erin, and their four kids. The wonders of technology brought them across the country to the big family celebration.
Meanwhile, I was communicating via email with my siblings about our Uncle Buddy who at 90 is approaching the end of his life and needing our attention. Because of email, we are able to all be part of one conversation about his care even though we are miles apart in Florida, Northern California--Fremont, Fort Bragg, Jamestown-- and in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Holiday celebrations put the focus on family, and this year, the wonders of technology enhanced that focus--pixelating and dispatching sights, sounds, and news. And to prove my point, as I was writing this blog post, I got an email from my Aunt Jean in Yuma AZ to which she attached a scanned photo of me, my brother, and my maternal grandparents taken in 1951.
I'm thankful for the technology that saves spaces, faces, and memories.