Relationship: Child of im/migrant

As long as I lived at home with my parents, I never needed an alarm clock. Everyday I was awoken by the sound of my mother speaking much too loudly over the phone. It annoyed me in many ways. Sometimes I had to explain to my teachers why I was groggy or late to class. They’d ask me, “what do you mean your mom was talking to Poland? The country? The president?” Of course that wasn't the case, but how could I properly convey that my mom had an entire family an ocean and several time zones away to keep in touch with?
These short phone calls replaced foundational moments in our lives and in my childhood. Happy ones, like getting to know my grandfather and singing him nursery rhymes, and sad ones too, like learning my grandfather had died or that my uncle had also gotten sick. It had always felt strange to experience these things over a landline, as if the moments were detached and incomplete, even unreal. I saw how it wore on my mother as well when she realized how far away she was and how little help she could offer over the phone.
This past Christmas, my brother and I bought my mother and my uncle tablets so they can Skype each other instead. It doesn’t solve all of the problems of long distance communication (especially my mother’s inability to lower her voice), but it has certainly helped. I know it makes my mom feel better that she can monitor what is in her brother’s refrigerator and pantry or to double-check that his pill boxes are properly filled.

Year: 1984

– Olivia

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant