When most people hear the words “long-distance relationship,” they automatically think of a romantic relationship. But, in reality, the most important long-distance relationship you can have is with your parents. Yes, it can be a little weird to put it into that perspective, but think about it: approximately 50 percent of children have divorced parents, and a majority of college students attend school away from home. That’s a lot of distance between parents and their children.

When I was 6 years old, my parents divorced. My mom and I moved to Texas and my dad stayed in Arizona, over 1000 miles away. Fourteen years later, I could not ask for a stronger relationship with my father.

It has not always been easy. It was exceptionally challenging at times. Growing up, I remember wishing I could be closer to my dad and often wondered when I would see him again. That constant wondering taught me to truly cherish the time I was able to spend with him. As I aged, our relationship grew stronger because I was able to understand the importance of maintaining this connection.

A few years ago someone asked me when I last saw my dad, and surprisingly, I couldn’t remember. After really thinking about it, I realized I hadn’t seen my dad in years. That was so shocking to me because I did not feel as though that much time had passed. I felt like I had just seen him last week.

We are lucky enough to live with technology like Skype and forms of social media that allow us to communicate easily. Because my dad and I FaceTime weekly and call and text every day, sometimes several times a day, the miles between us seem shorter. As submerged as we are in the internet, it is refreshing to know that it can be used to create healthy, positive relationships.

The most important piece of advice to remember in a long-distance relationship, whether it be with your parents, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or even friends, is that both parties have to contribute equally. If I had worked to maintain a relationship with my dad but received nothing in return, chances are we wouldn’t be so close today.

I am lucky enough to have parents who care about me and want to stay involved in my life — whether they are down the road or thousands of miles away. Distance should never be an excuse to not have a genuine relationship with someone. If that person is important enough, you will work together to make it happen. So go ahead, pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t seen in awhile. There is no reason to lose a meaningful relationship to the miles that separate you.