The Best Idea For Maintaining Close Contact With Grandchildren During Covid-19 Comes From An Unexpected Source

grandparent with grandchildrenPopPop, and I, as long distance grandparents, made it our business to visit our grandchildren often when they were younger, about every four to six weeks, until they at least started preschool.  We felt that the babies and toddlers needed the frequent contact to develop a close bond, which we hoped would last forever.  With the four older grandchildren, we feel we accomplished our goal.  I know when they are tired, as they do the same things and give the same clues they did when they were babies and toddlers.  I know how to calm them down and comfort them.  PopPop and I always have hugged and kissed and cuddled and snuggled our grandchildren, no matter how old they get. We want them to know and feel the unconditional love that only grandparents can give their grandchildren.

Then COVID-19 hit.  Of our six grandchildren, we have two toddler grandchildren who are now two and a half years old.  We have not hugged and kissed and cuddled and snuggled with them for over eight months.  Yes, the parents of our toddler grandchildren are amazing, and they make sure we either see them on FaceTime or get texts of photos and videos of the baby grandchildren every day.  However, two year olds cannot hold any attention for any time.  We love seeing the older of the two tell us all the color sand words he has learned and show us all of his favorite stuffed animals and farmhouse.  The bath time is the best time to get in a bit longer visit, and we get to watch our youngest now babble and babble away, trying to understand his attempts at saying “ambulance” and ‘excavator” yesterday.

However, we cannot explain how sad we are and how hollow we feel.  We are so worried that we cannot make up the time we have lost with them. Even our older grandchildren seem more distant as the time goes by longer than they have ever gone without our hugs and kisses and cuddles and snuggles.

The hardest time of this coronavirus has not been the isolation in our home, which we have done since March 1, 2020.  The hardest time is what we are missing out with our grandchildren.  The hardest time is these Florida grandparents not being able to visit them in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Ohio.  We have made plans repeatedly that we had to cancel when the reality of COVID-19 hits that it is dangerous for us high risk grandparents to travel.  We have no idea when we can next hug and kiss and cuddle and snuggle with our precious grandchildren.

The tears flow until I remember what made me smile again and will help us grandparents make it through this pandemic.  The best idea for maintaining close contact with our grandchildren came from an unexpected source.

It was teenagers Maisy, Finnegan, Naomi and Natalie who were squeezed onto a couch and explained how their grandfather, one of the busiest men on earth, always connects with them every day. Their grandfather, wherever he is and whatever he is doing, contacts them every single day, either by telephone or text.  They said he gets worried if any of them was not available or had not returned his call.

“He will pick up our calls no matter where he is. He’d be on stage giving a speech and we’d call him and he would be like ‘what’s wrong? Is everything good?’ Naomi said.

“He always calls with the same energy even after he’s just done 15 interviews in a row,” added Maisy.

PopPop and I always have had contact with the older grandchildren every few days.  He and I  decided that moment that we were going to tell our grandchildren about Maisy, Finnegan, Naomi and Natalie Biden and their grandfather calling or texting EVERY DAY, and that we were going to first try FaceTime, then telephone, then text, so be prepared for multiple attempts to connect EVERY DAY.  We have added the four older grandchildren to our daily “visits” with the two toddler grandchildren.

All the older four grandchildren were excited and surprised us with how happy they were about this idea and put smiles back on our faces.

Our oldest grandson, at near seventeen, said great, remember I am busy, but I will definitely call or text back as soon as I can.   He answers FaceTime more often than we expected.  We got to see him just after a horrible haircut for school, talk about his ability to drive himself to school each day now, and we were able to figure out where his senior parking spot was.  He has yet to miss returning our contact sooner than we expected.  We are now so connected with his daily life. We are so happy.

Our fourteen year old granddaughter said great, remember I am busy, but I will definitely call or text back as soon as I can.  She answers FaceTime even more often than her older brother.  She has gotten to telling us in advance all of her plans, and when it is best to try to get her.  We know her color uniform shirt this year and talked about this color of navy was much better than yellow and green previous years.  We talked about how different school is going to be this year, yet how lucky she is not to be doing remote school like she did from March to the end of the last school year. We are now so connected with her daily life. We are so happy.

Our nine year old grandson, with the biggest smile on his face and the biggest vocabulary, explained all the “myriad” of reasons why he might not “instantaneously” answer FaceTime.  However, he has not missed one time since we started.  He greets us with that biggest hello and smile.  He is a computer and coding child and explains what he is doing the exact moment with his newest creation or Roblox or Mindcraft. Since he has recently moved to a new state and new house, he is anxious for us to see his room and where it is in his house.  He told us all about the new friend he made the first day of school, who happens to live three houses away.  We are now so connected with his daily life.  We are so happy.

I have left our thirteen year old grandson for last.  He is our biggest surprise.  He was emphatic that we should expect that he would call back in two hours.  He answers FaceTime immediately, if we do not forgot his hockey schedule and he is unavailable.  He explained the “hybrid’ school schedule and how it works in his new school.  We talked about how hard it is to make friends when everyone is wearing a mask, and how he cannot wait for the twenty minute “mask break” so he can actually see his new classmates behind plexiglass barriers.  Most amazing, he stays on the telephone for thirty to forty five minutes at one time.  He carries us with him wherever he goes rather than getting off FaceTime.  He has taken us around his room and the new house and showed us the progress on the renovations every day.  He takes us in the car when he goes for ice cream with his Mom.  His favorite flavor is chocolate and we watch him eat his three scoop cone at the local outdoor ice cream hang out. We are so connected with his daily life. We are so happy.

Yes, this Grandma loves getting grandma lessons.  This great lesson came from an unexpected source. We grandparents are never too old or too “experienced” at grandparenting to learn new tools for grandparent joy.  Thank you, Grandpa Joe Biden.  I am sure that when you had your precious granddaughters Maisy, Finnegan, Naomi and Natalie Biden talk about you, you did not realize that the good deed, among so many you have done in your life, was giving us grandparents the best idea for maintaining contact with OUR grandchildren during this corona virus pandemic for grandparent

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

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