In many ways, the quarantine kept our family apart. We could no longer go out to eat together, watch movies together, or even just stop by each other’s houses for a quick hello (and Challah delivery). However, in one key way, the quarantine brought our family closer too: Zoom calls. No longer would we have to exclude our out-of-state family from events such as birthdays and holidays, for via the magic of technology, anyone we wanted could be the next best thing from right there in the room with us. While seeing my local family in person once again is a privilege I relish, adding distant family to Zoom calls for celebrations is a wonderful tradition, forced onto us by the toils of quarantine, that absolutely should be maintained.
Though they feel like distant memories now, I remember the times when birthdays and holidays would be local affairs, with calls from our family in Florida sprinkled in throughout the day. However, once the quarantine hit, we had no choice but to call everyone, including the relatives that live a five minutes’ drive away. Save for those we actually lived with, we would all be separated, but at the same time we would be together in a way that we would never have thought to do before: we all gather on a call at once, celebrating as a whole family, the plane ride we would have to take to be together no longer an obstacle to consider. The enjoyment of hearing our Floridian relatives singing “Happy Birthday” to us when they never would have before (assuming they remembered to unmute their mics, of course) is something that we should never stop. Even beyond special occasions, the convenience of simply clicking a Zoom link and seeing your family enables us to have large family gatherings even on normal nights, something we would never have considered before quarantine.
While in-person dinners and gatherings are, thankfully, once again a thing of the present, the virtual inclusion of family members that otherwise could not be there is a wonderful addition to our family time, one that we should keep well after quarantine.