So, here I am, in my brother's house, meditating over ironing baby clothes and thinking about relationships and what makes them live. Even my family thought it was a bit crazy to fly over for a weekend to see the newborn baby instead of waiting for a few months. But, of course, they were glad to see me and we had a great time :)
Living abroad and especially current thinking that I may end up living abroad for the rest of my life make me thinking a lot about what makes relationships live. My family and many of my friends are in Moscow. I'm there often enough not to complain, but I still miss a lot – sharing all those experiences of everyday life that makes the feeling of being related so intimate and so rich.
I tend to think that it's about the distance, but I know that it's not.
Of course, the frequency is important too, but when I complain my mother rightly says that she doesn't talk with my sister much more often than with me being so far away.
I suspect there is something about the nature of interaction that makes the difference.
When I'm in Moscow my days are fully packed with appointments. Reflecting a bit on those I realised that the feeling of being connected is much stronger in the cases where the interaction is about something, but not that much for the sake of interaction. For example, coming to my parents for a dinner doesn’t feel as "connecting" as going shopping with them. Same with friends: meeting just for the sake of seeing each other doesn't work as good as meeting to do something together, whatever that could be – doing dishes, going to exhibitions or making sure that a friend's child keeps his food safe from their doggy. As this time – finding that changing diapers and ironing baby clothes works much better than coming just to see the baby :)
It's only recently when I realised the importance of sharing those experiences. I guess in everyday life we don't pay much attention to them – they just happen as part of sharing our lives with those we love and care about. Being far away makes me understanding that it’s not that much about the time spent together, but about small mundane details and shared activities that filled that time.
I know all these it not new ;) I'm thinking of triangulation, object-centered sociality and even one of my favourite quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupery that
loving is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction.
But, anyway, there are things out there in the world and there are moments when you discover their relevance and importance for you personally. Like now – when planning a trip home I thought of experiences to share next to fighting with the logistics. Like finding two days back that ironing can do so much for experiencing all those big changes happening in my family.
And, in case you are curious – it's a boy :)