I am always missing my family. All of them live near each other in Arizona while I am in Illinois. I wish that I could be with them  for the little things like getting my hair done in my sister’s salon, taking a walk in the desert with my dad, going flea market shopping with my mom and playing with my niece and nephew so my sister can take a nap and clean her house. Then there are my brothers and their children, a whole group of rowdy boys always ready for some family fun. You can assume that the holidays are especially hard to be so far away, but really it is the day to day things that I regret missing. Now that my daughter has moved there it is even harder. The knot in my stomach expanded when she left and the emptiness longs for the visit I get to make in December. How do I keep the bond of family secure when we live so far apart with busy lives and little time for ourselves to chat on the phone or Skype online. Could something a small as a postcard or flowers work to stay connected? Here are 5 ways that my family and I use to keep our long distance relationship working.

1. Send each other funny messages on social media.
Sharing a post to the family on facebook about something silly that our kids did or ‘pinning’ a funny poster to our Family Board on Pinterest can keep us in each other’s thoughts.

2. Leave a sweet and unexpected voice mail just because. 
I love it when I see that I have a message on my phone and hear one of my family member’s voice telling me that they love me. When a song comes on that reminds me of them somehow I like to leave a message with a  quick “Remember that time when. . . ” with a little clip of the song.

3. Send a postcard. 
Whether you are on a vacation far away or visiting a museum in your own hometown, jot down a quick note and say “I wish you were here!”

4. Give a Gift Card and Make Plans
Getting a surprise in the mail is always fun no matter how old you are. Receiving a gift card is especially fun. Also many companies have gift codes that can be sent immediately to e-mail. How about sending a gift card with a note that says “Lets have coffee and talk”, or “lets go shopping together”. Then call or face time each other when you “meet” up at the same store or restaurant world’s away! One of my sisters and I would go shopping together at Target when I first moved away. They had many of the same things so we could talk about what we were both seeing at the same time!

5. Send Flowers 
Especially for my mom who doesn’t have a man around to give obligatory bouquets and treats for special occasions, sending gifts or flowers is fun for me and always a tear jerking event for her. On the holidays I like sending a themed bouquet to the home where everyone is celebrating together because it helps keep us in their thoughts when we cant be there with them.

What are some things that you do to stay connected to your long distance relationship?  Let me and our dapper friends know in the comments below!