When you live so far away from loved ones, most often than not, you miss occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, eids, holidays etc and sometimes it breaks your heart not to be able to celebrate together. There is absolutely no alternative to being together in person, being able to plan a special day, being able to hug your special ones, eating together, laughing together and just celebrating.
And even though its hard when you live so far way, we cant let a little distance spoil these special days for us. Special occasions need to be celebrated. And near or far, that is exactly what we got to do. We have finally embraced the distance (only somewhat), and figured out a way to celebrate together. The video-conferring way!
Since the last two years or so, it has been an almost daily routine to talk on Skype. We have managed to find a time that works for all of us (most days) and now we cant imagine what we did without it. Since we’re in three different continents, Skype would only let us do audio calls three-way. Many times we thought about paying for a premium account so we’d be able to do video calls. And then we found out about a service that let us do that for free. Have you heard of Oovoo? It is awesome because my mom and sister in Pakistan, my sister in London, and myself and Anya here, can all see each other.
It is very important for me that Anya sees the presence of our families in our world even if has to be over the computer. A friend of mine has a tradition that every Eid, after namaz, she dresses up her kids and together they Skype with the kids’ dada dadi, nana nani. Sometimes we friends plan to have breakfast somewhere outside but she refuses saying they have to talk to the grandparents. I always loved this dedication of hers and wanted it for us too when we had a baby.
So last year for Anya’s first eid, we planned the same. We skyped with her dadi and her phupos first thing in the morning after we got dressed up. Seeing the excitement in their voices and the twinkle in their eyes as they loved this little piece of us, was lovely.
This eid too we Oovoo’d with my sister in London and my family in Pakistan, including my grandparents, Anya’s great-grandparents MA!
These little online celebrations are the perfect start to our Eid mornings!
This past Mother’s Day, we really wanted to celebrate our mom. She has been the sole source of strength for our family since the day Papa got sick and even more so after he left us. Without her, I cannot begin to imagine where we’d be (May Allah bless her in every way always, Ameen).
So we planned an Oovoo party for her. Waliya set up a corner beautifully and brought Mama, while we waited on Oovoo. It was a surprise for mama that all three of us could video-conference together and she loved it!
Photos and Collage by my sister, Waliya Najib
For Mama and Waliya’s birthday, we decided to spend the exact moment the clock struck 12, together. Nadiya and I had put up simple birthday decorations even. And when the clock struck twelve, we all sang Happy Birthday, and Anya danced some. Then they opened their gifts infront of us. And it felt like in a small way we were a part of their day.
Have you ever celebrated the video-conferencing way? Would love to hear your experiences. And yes its not the least bit close to being there in person. But for us, living oceans apart, its the next best thing.
Thanks for stopping by!