I was chatting with my niece online yesterday and showed her some of the photos we have round the house of her children. The Things 1, 2 & 3. There are also hundreds of photo's of our 5 kids and other family members. It's important to us to be part of the family and watch them grow and hear about their achievements when we're away from home.
Two of our children have lived abroad with us, another now lives alone in Australia. They've all been out to visit as have both our mothers, but in between us going over there, we're pretty much on our own. Our kids have little contact with one another, both our mums live near one of our nieces, but they can all get together, they all have support if they need it within an hours drive (excluding the one in Australia)
We have fairly regular contact online via facebook messengers, we can see photos on FB and instagram of what everyone is up to and at the end of the month I'll ring round using up the last of my monthly phone credit.
When I visit the UK I will leave gifts and cards with my mum to post/distribute during the time till my next visit and I regularly post physical photo's, small gifts, novelty items to the kids. I leave these parcels with my mum also and let her know when I want them sent. I also send regular letters and post cards from Dubai, but sadly either not many get through, or I'm not informed when they do arrive.
I keep a copy of every letter I send and receive, it makes a fab way of keeping a record of our lives abroad.
It's a way of letting everyone know we're still thinking of them, still want to part of their lives, that we're around in mind, if not physically, for the whole year.
It's going to get as lot harder for us though after September as we're going to be grandparents and as Skype, whatsapp calls and facetime is currently blocked in the UAE, we won't be able to interact with our grandchild as he or she grows