Linda Flockhart didn’t miss a moment of her son Justin Ratushniak’s convocation last month.
The pomp, the speeches, Ratushniak’s walk across the stage to receive his degree in sport management - Flockhart got to experience it all. And to think, she wasn’t even sitting in the Ian D. Beddis gym for a minute of it.
Flockhart took in her son’s milestone sitting with her iPad in a hotel lobby in Jerusalem, thanks to the University live streaming convocation ceremonies to those who couldn’t attend the big day in person.
“The technology was quite overwhelming. This little box was keeping you connected,” Flockhart said. “I got to see the speeches, the people walk across the stage. I got to do everything except give him a hug.”
Still, she did get to watch the ceremony eating hors d’oeuvres and sipping wine while a hotel waiter came by to check out the action online and share stories about his own children in university.
Flockhart, a nurse manager at a Toronto hospital, was attending an international nursing conference in Israel and had applied to be a presenter there last fall.
“Then Justin came home and said ‘Guess what?’” she recalled. “Your whole life, you wait for them to grow up and to miss that opportunity… . This is such an important event in our lives, to not be there is hard. I was teary.”
Fortunately, the tech gods were smiling upon Flockhart and her family in other ways that June day, too.
Flockhart said her phone’s Wi-Fi connection hadn’t worked at any point during her nearly four-week trip except on the day of Ratushniak’s convocation. The celebratory text messages and photos from Brock, where his father, brother and grandfather sat in the audience, flooded her inbox.
“It was very surreal to be that far away and still be connected to home,” she said.
But the bond between mother and son that day was more than just technological.
“Between us, we still felt a connection even though I was away from home.”