“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving laughing, defending and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together” ~ Erma Bombeck
It took me a while to write this particular article. I thought it was my first writers block. Until now I never thought I could be speechless too. My profound love for my family, my free will to sacrifice for them, my over possessiveness to be protective all the time could never be measured in words. Well, we all have a family and we all know what it means to be one of the members. Like Robert Brault in his blog said, ‘Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie, not perfect but who is complaining.”
So, why family life is so important even in virtual life? I packed my bags to look for an answer role playing as a 12 year old kid. There are various adoption agencies like NGI, Olrich, Heritage. I stopped by Heritage Adoption Agency.
There were 100's of panels each seeking child, parent, god child, sibling, god parent and adults, all looking for a family. Kimi Ayakashi says to child she might adopt someday soon, “I am a single mom. You do have a dad but I would parent as a single parent. I can't wait to find my little one. I will be there for you. I do want a child who understands parent's also need a break and do business as well. I really want to have family life and be as interactive and hands on as possible. Together I want to create a cosy home that is a safe haven for my children to be themselves and be loved. I think children should be free to create and explore but with boundaries created by a loving parent.”
There was another family looking for a child, Jaiden and Brynne. where Jaiden Abbey Lennox is the mom, Brynne Isabelle Sinclaire is the daughter, Starleigh Reese Sinclaire is Brynne's little one. Jaiden says her idea of fun, “Anything as long as we are having fun as a family! I enjoy games such as greedy or parcheesi, movie nights and just spending time together in general. It doesn't matter to me as long as you are spending time with those you care about. Greedy, drawing on mom’ walls, twerking everywhere or even stealing food is allowed.” She continues, “I do want to stress that I am looking for forever family. I want someone that is going to want to be there next week, next month and a year from now. The perfect fit is a must. ♥ I do the SL Facebook and Plurk stuff. I love skype and voice! I am also alright with communication outside of SL. And I am a huuuuge gaming nerd. So if you would like to play other games I am all for that too! I play LoL, WoW and lots of L4D2. Zombies!” Laughs. “Forever's a big deal for us. I play League with mom sometimes, and we'd love you to join! I'm a bit of a goofball, it's just my personality. We need someone who can offset my crazy but still be crazy!”
LilyChu, is about 12 years old, says “I'd like a family who is active. Not just online, but I'd love to have moments where we can all come together and hand out as a family. Though, I do understand some parents are busy, and that's fine too, as long as I am not forgotten.”
Virtual families are not bound by blood but trust, love and faith. Britney von Prague says, “It’s the connection and the closeness that virtual families are famous. I am into SL families because for me it is something I have lost in the real world. I consider my SL family as my RL family. My mom is awesome, she is someone that never quits working on something. My dad is someone who makes sure you laugh. My siblings are a blend of everything. Most of all my family is nuts.” She laughs and continues, “It’s been a year, a first for me. If I count right, this is my 7th. Ever since we became a family, we say it was fate that brought us together.” When asked what she likes to do, she says, “I like to eat sugar and color on people. I have tried school in SL, nothing ever fit for me. There was one school I loved, but it shutdown. It was Cloverdale. I know a lot of people hated it, but I loved it. I was the President for the Elementary and on the cheer team. Now days, most of the time we stand around and chat or we play board games. At one year celebrations we are going to Disney in Second Life.”
It is amazing to see people from different parts of the world come together to look for someone to love and be loved. There can be two logical answers for virtual family’s existence, one is the absence of a proper one in real life and the second is to share the experiences of virtual reality together. If some do not have a family in Virtual Reality, they have friends. Few residents role play with real people as their children and others sort for prim babies. Even though many sellers are selling prim babies to care for; it still gets boring after some time. Taking care of new born prim babies could be considered for the initial role play stage of parenthood. To see ones child growing up is a great happiness in real life. Like in real life, Second Life provides so many other activities which aid well with family role plays.
There are many schools for school role play, amusement parks etc. One of the school, I visited is the Sunstrider Valley Elementary and High School. It is helping kids excel in the community and in education. There is a new sports center, a grand school building with amazing features and lots of fun. The school has great features like football, soccer, swimming pool, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, ballet studio, library & computer lab, auditorium theater and gymnasium and fully working bathrooms with Life-Hud options.
To enhance the family role play imitating it like a real life community, few Estate owners are taking extra steps to provide a community for all. One such is the Misthaven Estates, with 11 connected sims. A PG community with family homes, school, mall, clubs. A train system connecting all the places, drivable streets, starlight cinema theatre, bowling alley, mini golf, arcade games and camping ground right on the Kid Grid. There are others like the Olrich City, Downtown Shopping District, Pleasant Hope Estates, Masoma County Residential Living Community, Almsteadt Estates and others.
Photograph Credit: Dilego Lavane, formed to a collage by Debby Sharma
If there is a perfect fit, then why not opt for the choice of having a family virtually. It is said, bigger the better. It is better to be one of the loving members and go through the ordeal every day than to explore the lands and deserted towns alone in a virtual kingdom. Like Lisa Weeden said, “Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life”.
*Note: This article was originally written for SL Enquirer
*Note: This article was originally written for SL Enquirer