A few weeks ago we finally got round to mailing the 2011 Roundup DVD back to friends and family in the UK. This annual event is months in the making, as I sweat and stress over which images, which films, which music to use to fully bring across the essence of the year that has just passed. I lie awake at night worrying that I have used more pictures of one child than another, that I have not put enough emphasis on one guest’s visit compared with another, and will insult someone. No matter how hard I try, I know my father will hate my choice of music. So why bother? I actually love putting together the annual round up and we all love watching the short movies. This year the girls were fascinated by our 2009 movies, when they were all so small and squeaky, so it’s a great way to share their growing up with those who see them so rarely now.
Then, on Saturday, I was chatting with my BFF – her in Worcester, me in Coquitlam. She said the DVD had arrived, she and her children watched it and since then they have all been very depressed. “Why don’t we go ice-skating, Mum?” asked her 11 year old. “You do so many amazing things, and we feel so boring” she complained. I thought about this for a while and I have realized that we are all falling victim to …. The Facebook Effect. Let me explain….
We have friends on Facebook who arrived in Vancouver shortly after us. They have amazing children who are always smiling, always happy to be out with their parents at every event and every cool place in town. They eat at wonderful restaurants, go to parties with a diverse crowd of friends, ski, sail, camp and snowshoe (often in the same day). We are very jealous, and question why we are not so interesting. The Facebook Effect has caught us. When I last spoke to our friend, she complained bitterly about the effort it took to persuade her daughter to come out with them – the sulks, the arguments, more sulks. I tried not to look pleased, but this is not the story we get from FB. Of course, we all post the best pictures; not to be smug but to share the news and the great places to be.
So I told my friend in Worcester about the bad days, and I explained that we have the same problems we had in England – there’s a ton of great stuff we could be doing every day, but we can’t afford to do it. We still have to make lunch boxes, wash and iron clothes, stop the leak in the basement and replace all the mouldy drywall. We still have to shop carefully for the bargains, and we still wish we could win the Lottery. We still disagree to the point of yelling at each other and threatening to walk out, but now I’m not sure where I’m walking out to – I could go home to Mother, but it’s very difficult to maintain a righteous anger when you are cooling off in an economy seat on a 10-hour flight.
I’m already planning next year’s DVD. During the year I am going to take photos of us doing our homework, commuting to work and having sulks. Then I’m going to set it to something by The Smiths. That should keep everyone at home happy.