Tales of a Whatsapp Auntie - The Green Eyed Monster

Living away from your family is hard on a normal day - but when something exciting is happening it's even harder



So Bradley made his debut in the world, and it was exciting... but as the weeks went on the 3547 miles between us got harder to handle.

The wonders of technology

WhatsApp is a wonderful invention, it allows us to share pictures, thoughts and even video calls with the ones we love - all over the wold, and it's essentially free. When Bradley was born - he dominated the screens of our Family group on a regular basis, we were all living vicariously through those notifications. Being 5 hours ahead, I'd wake up in the morning and check my phone for an update... as he got a few weeks older the smiles became real, the eyes were open more and more often and his personality started to come through. We all knew he was a fighter - and those pictures helped us all get to know him.

It's hard not to be jealous

But then, the pictures started to include other people... my parents went to visit, proud grandparents who were over the moon to have their first grandchild. Then friends, and then my other brother and his wife... it was a family reunion, and I wasn't there. It was amazing to see all of them together, getting to know Bradley and sharing his smiles together, but I wasn't there. They went sightseeing, and I wasn't there. They had picnics in the sunshine, and I wasn't there.

Please don't get me wrong - It was exciting to see everyone having fun and getting to know the newest member of the family, but I was grappling with the green eyed monster... I was jealous. It was a hard emotion to come to terms with - knowing I wouldn't get to meet this little guy for a good number of months was beginning to settle in.

Trading one family for another

It made me think, deciding to live in another country, and take care of other people's children, means sacrificing being there for your own family. I'm lucky that my family shares, pictures, phone calls, video chats, and the odd parcel that arrives in the post - a care package containing Twizzlers and Tim Horton's French vanilla. Not all of us have amazingly communicative families back home, who send us those little glimpses of home.

It's a funny thing to leave your family behind and take on a new one. You get to see someone else's children growing up but your nieces and nephews talk to you through a smart phone. We share our hearts and our days with our "other families" but the ones we leave behind move on whether we're there or not. Would I trade places... some days I'd say yes in a heartbeat, but other days I can see the impact I have on the lives of the children I take care of, and it leaves me feeling like I'm in the right place.

WhatsApp makes it easier...

I can't imagine having to wait for those pictures to arrive through the post, or not being able to see those little smiles become more and more genuine. Until next time.

Michelle Barr, WhatsApp Auntie

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