Whenever I take my friends home to visit my family, one of the first responses I get is that of surprise, usually followed by the words, “Your family is really close!” To that statement, I whole-heartedly agree! I am the second youngest of six children, four of which are married and have children of their own. From the oldest sibling down to the youngest sibling there is an age gap of fifteen years. Many of us are hundreds of miles away from each other, but even now, we are closer than ever.

Ever since my oldest sister went off to college, my parents have made it their mission to make sure we stay together, no matter the age, distance, or obstacles that may be between us.  Being a close-knit family requires a bit of flexibility and creativity, but it is absolutely worth it.  Seeing the different ways that my family has decided to stay close to one another has me itching to share, so I decided to write down some of my family’s favorite ways to stay connected.

The Texting Chain  For years we have had an ongoing texting chain between each member of the family. We share thoughts, pictures, jokes, stories, and encouraging notes with one another all throughout the week. Because of our texting chain, we are constantly being updated on everyone’s lives and can share in each other’s joys, and help encourage each other in difficult times.

G chats  Every Sunday we have all set aside a time that we can hop online talk to each other face to face. It is like we are all in the same room! We have spent countless hours wiping away tears after laughing way too hard. We also set apart a time to have everyone tell about the best part of the week. This not only keeps everyone updated, but it unifies us in our love for one another.

Traditions We Look Forward to All Year Long  Traditions can be one of the most unifying aspects of a family.  One of our traditions just happens to be making movies. A few years ago, my brothers and I decided to put together a movie during our Christmas break. We started out jotting down ideas for a plot including zombies and an apocalypse, and before we knew it our ideas had exploded into a full-blown theatrical production created in iMovie.  Ever since that year, the entire family brings their talents, skills and creativity to the table to create the year’s Christmas movie.  And when it’s done, we start planning next year’s movie.

There are so many ways to keep connected, no matter the distances that may separate family members. Now, I’m not saying that you have to make yearly movies in order to stay close, but rather, find something that your family can all contribute their strengths to and watch how such a simple act can bring a family together!

By Jessica Porter