When I was a little girl we would visit my father's extended family quite often. So often, that I was confused as to who my Mother's family was for a very long time. (I would wonder: Did she not have a family? Or was her family the same as Dad's family?) It took me a long time to realize that her family lived farther away.
It turns out that all that in-person contact was good for the older relatives in my Father's family, since we now know that face-to-face contact helps prevent depression. For the study on that link, researchers rated the effectiveness of communication with family members across several different methods (phone, email, social networks and in person) and then collected data on people's moods. They were able to determine that in-person visits are the best.
I really like this study. I think that as we are all so used to keeping up with people via texts and emails and phone calls, it speaks volumes that an in-person visit is still the strongest connection we have to other people. I know that the people that I feel the closest to are those who I see every day.
As an adult, I am not able to see my extended families as often as I would like - on my Dad's or my Mom's or my husband's side. The geographical distance makes it difficult. But, when I am able to see them I always feel better afterward - like I know my place in the world a little better.
Who do you wish you could see more often? Share with me in the comments.