Call home

For years I lived too far from home to visit very often and had to make do with a three-week trip every 18 months or so. It wasn’t particularly hard. I was busy living my life and everyone at home was getting on with theirs. My life abroad was just what I did. I know couples here in Hungary who have all three kids living in another country. It’s become a norm,  part of twenty-first-century living.

One of the drawbacks of living in say, the States, or Canada, or Australia, is that you dread the call. The phone call that comes with bad news. Coming close to what would be the end of my time in Alaska, a couple of good friends had received one. I can’t begin to imagine what the trip home was like for them. Had it been me, a fair few miles would have been eaten up in self-recrimination. Should have called more, written more, visited more.

That was then, in the days when the Internet was in its infancy, when the postman still brought real letters and Christmas had to be mailed in November. Today, Skype has made it all a lot more manageable. The Internet has made it easier to catch up and stay up with what’s happening at home. Free phone call apps make it affordable to talk every day. For the most part, those I know who are living away from home are religious about staying in touch.


This picture was posted on Facebook during the week. When I looked, it had 348 comments, most of them from parents saying how their kids never call unless it’s to look for money or help. They were waiting for a call just to ask how they were doing. A sizeable portion were from kids who’d lost their parents and would give anything to have them back so that they could call and visit. A rare few told of daily telephone calls and visits.

Then I saw a video along the same vein, but this time the kids were calling, calling to make excuses as to why they didn’t have time to visit their parents, to chat, to fix a phone. It ends with the entreaty to stop neglecting, to make time for those we love. It had 216 comments and 27k+ shares. I scrolled down through the comments and began to realise how far removed I am from other people’s reality.

You only have one life, use your time wisely. My mom is still with us, my dad passed away at 48 yrs old. We love, and we lost. My baby sister was murdered at 15 yrs old. My son was murdered at 17 yrs old. My brother lost his baby girl at 7 days old. Life is not fair. I have learned the hard way that you treasure whoever you have in your life because you never know when you will lose them. Just sayin’.

With this though, more of the comments were about letting your kids go – realising that they have lives to live, too. Don’t expect, they said. Don’t wait. You’ve done your job. A lot of these comments came from India.

Yes, there are families where the parent-child relationship is toxic and visits end in arguments and tears and so are avoided altogether. Happy families for many are something they see on TV. Remember that German ad that ran last year about an old man faking his death just to get his kids home for Christmas?

I don’t have kids, so I don’t know whether I’d be in the disappointed camp, waiting for calls that never come and visits that never happen. I don’t call home every day – if I did, my mother would wonder what was up. We email, we chat, I visit every other month. And each time I go home, my dad thanks me for making the effort. None of us are getting any younger. The time we have left together is limited. Staying in touch is important.


Subscribe to get notified when I publish something new.

One Response

Talk to me...


%d bloggers like this:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information on cookies and GDPR

Cookies and GDPR Compliance

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

General Data Protection Regulation

If you have voluntarily submitted your email address so that you can receive notifications of new posts, please be assured that I don't use your address for anything other than to do just that - and that's done automatically. I might use your address, if I knew how to, but I don't.

This blog does not make money, it does not carry sponsored content, it has no ads for which I receive any form of payment. If I review a place or a restaurant or a book, I don't receive any compensation from anyone. I wish I did, but that would require marketing myself and life is too short. If something changes, I will be sure to let you know.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe or manage subscription links at the bottom of every email you receive. When you comment on a blog post, Google Analytics tracks where you're posting from. This is stored and I can check my stats to see how many clicks I had today, where people clicked from, and what they clicked on. That's it. Nothing more.

I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, particularly to other commenters. If you want to have one of your comments deleted, the please get in touch with me at: I'm all for the right to be forgotten so will happily oblige.

So, in a nutshell, if you give me your email address voluntarily to subscribe to new posts or if you opt to subscribe to new comments, then you email is just used for this. Nothing else. Promise.