The other day we lost our Internet connection. At first my son thought it was a problem with his computer, so he ran out of his bedroom and tried the computer in my office. No connection working there either.

‘It’s not your computer. The Internet is down’, I shouted from the kitchen.

In a panic, my son rushed into the kitchen and said, ‘Who are you?’

‘I’m your father.’

My son looked puzzled and paused for a moment. ‘But you’re bald and gray,’ he replied.

‘You’ve been stuck in front of that computer for so long you don’t even recognize your own father. Time passes, you know. If you ever stopped watching YouTube you might know who I am.’

My son looked embarrassed. Our first conversation for years had not started well.
Just then the front door opened and my wife and daughter came in.

My son looked startled and glanced at me for confirmation. ‘Then I suppose that must be my mother.’

‘Good guess’, I said. ‘You always had a good eye for faces.’

‘Hi Mom! You look so…so…small.’

‘I’m not small, you’ve just grown, that’s all,’ my wife replied.

‘Who’s he?’ my daughter Sara asked.

‘This is your brother Bryan,’ I explained.

‘Oh,’ Sara said. ‘I knew there was someone in the bedroom next to mine. How do you do? I’ve heard lots of things about you.’

‘I have a sister?’ Bryan asked. ‘Wow! Amazing! There’s nothing like losing your Internet connection for getting to know your family.’

‘You can say that again,’ my wife said.

‘We’ve lost our Internet connection! Oh no, I can’t believe it!’ Sara shouted as she ran to her room to check her computer.

The conversation was not going well.

‘Look,’ said Bryan, ‘I know I’ve been a little distant…always stuck in front of the computer and everything. But now we’ve lost our Internet connection, I’d like to become a better son and talk to you more.’

‘That’s great, Bryan,’ I said. ‘What do you want to talk about?’

‘Hmmm, good question, I don’t know…’

The conversation was grinding to a halt.

At that moment Sara yelled from her room, ‘Emergency over! The Internet is working again!’

‘Mom…Dad…it sure was good to talk. I really enjoyed it. We should do this more often,’ my son said as he ran back to his room.

‘You’re the communication expert. You fix it!’ my wife said sarcastically as she stared at me.

‘OK…OK…you’re right…but just let me finish my e-mails first.’

Epilogue: Don’t let my story become your story. It’s good to talk. Here’s to better communication in all our houses this year!