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How a family of thirty-one shares every day together

Jessica’s family uses Marco Polo to share everything from recipes to parenting tips to babies’ first steps. When her in-laws travel to Sweden to serve a Mission, they’re heartbroken at the prospect of missing the family’s big annual reunion. But with Marco Polo they discover a reciprocal gift: a way to be part of the reunion while sharing their once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We have a big, close-knit family, with thirty-one relatives wanting to stay connected and involved in one another’s lives.

At first, Marco Polo was a great way for the kids to connect with their cousins. But pretty quickly the whole family jumped on.

My sister-in-law began Polo’ing things like local performances her daughter, Trinalee, was in. She has an amazing voice, but with family all over the state, we can’t all be there in person to support her. Her mom would send a Polo to everyone who couldn’t make her performances, so we could all cheer her on.

Everyone’s involvement on the app grew from there. We began connecting over everything from cooking meals together, to sharing big, new moments like grandkids walking for the first time.

Family in Halloween costumes

It’s been so helpful with raising all the kids. With 19 nieces and nephews in the Whitehead family, there’s a lot of parenting support to utilize. I reach out to my sisters-in-law when Joelle, my challenging child, is having a meltdown. She’s really sweet. So it’s difficult for people to imagine her tantrums. And I needed guidance.

A couple of times, I’ve been able to capture it on Marco Polo. They’ve all had a challenging child, so they understand. They can see how I respond, give me feedback, and walk me through it.

My sister-in-law uses it to help her daughter, Avonlea, push past barriers. Avonlea is very picky. She doesn’t like to try new things. But when her mom, Sarah, captures it in a Polo to share with the cousins, Avonlea will be agreeable. Sarah will say, Today, Avonlea is going to try hot dogs for the first time. And Avonlea will because she knows her cousins are watching. They always Polo back to cheer her on. Great job, Avonlea! We are so proud of you.

And last week, my husband’s siblings came out for a family reunion. But their parents couldn’t be here. They’re serving a Mission in Sweden. It was a tough adjustment for us all. It was the first reunion without them. Usually they help spearhead the event.

My mother-in-law, Peggy, was so disappointed to miss it. We went to all of the historical church sites. She’s so passionate about them. She has rooms in her house dedicated to the stories associated with each historical event.

We wanted to include Alden and Peggy in the reunion, and all the events they normally never miss. So we shared everything with them on Marco Polo.

Family farewell

When they wake up, they have Polos waiting for them, filled with moments like their grandson’s game-winning shot from the three-point line, or their granddaughter’s dance recital. And they could experience the reunion with us. It was so sweet. They were able to hear the songs we sang together, and go on the church tours with the family. They saw the grandkids dressed in their little pioneer getups. It was so special to share all of these moments with them.

And it goes both ways. Alden takes us with him on long walks and excursions through cathedrals with gorgeous architecture, along cobblestone streets with markets, even through Sweden’s fascinating subway system. We get an intimate tour with our in-laws during the course of their Mission.

Even though our parents are in Sweden, and family is spread apart, we never miss any of the family moments we all cherish.

4 thoughts on “How a family of thirty-one shares every day together

  1. So true Jessica! Even when it’s not mission or reunion time, my tween watches all the new Polos every morning over her bowl of cereal. She loves staying up to date on her cousins’ lives.

    1. Love that image! So much more fun than reading the cereal box. 😉 Thanks for the feedback, and we’re so glad you and your family are enjoying Marco Polo!

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