On Mondays Jack participates in a video conference. At bed time we get him washed and set the computer upstairs with an active login to skype running. At sometime around 7pm we answer a call from the US and the screen is filled with the loving faces of Jack's grandparents. They chit chat and Jack generally shows of a toy or teddy, then they get down to business. Grandma presents to Jack the bedtime story that she's going to read him. Jack sits quietly, eyes glued to the screen, listening Grandma's dramatic re-enactments or Grandpa doing the voices of the characters. I tell you it's just like he's sitting right there next to them.
This idea has been a long time in the making. My mother and I discussed the idea of some sort of regular calls with Jack months before the idea of video came to us. While visiting Utah I noted that my mother also had a Mac and casualy mentioned that we should video chat on iChat sometime. Well, that remark started the wheels turning and what started out as a well coordinated Christmas call, lead to a regular Sunday afternoon, morning for them, video conference call over Skype. It worked reasonably well but it usually resulted in Jack losing interest a minute or so in. So we changed the agenda from an afternoon call to a bedtime call, because Jack loved the stories read to him by Grandma and I figured why not continue? That way it would be more about Jack specifically than just a phone call.
Jack looks forward to his calls, every weekend or if he sees a picture of either of grandparent he starts asking when Grandma is going to call next and is delighted that he's generally not got long to wait.
I'm not generally one to go on about how thankful or blessed I am when it comes to things like this. But in this case I feel it's appropriate. In what other time was anything even remotely like this possible? A 4 year old boy can have his bedtime story read to him by his beloved grandparents, interactively, in person and in real time, with 6000 miles between them.