After A Year of Living With the Pandemic, We Vaccinated Grandparents Share the Joy of Hugging Grandchildren

virus-vaxWe grandparents have made it. We have lived through a year of the pandemic, COVID-19. We have been in isolation, one of worst parts of which has been the deprivation of being able to hug our grandchildren.

This has been such a difficult year for everyone, but at our stage of life, loss of physical connection with those we love has been the most painful. Yes, we are lucky to be alive as one of the highest risk group for serious illness and death. But loss of a year now when we have a finite number of years left has been a greater loss.

This Grandma has friends who have not held newborn grandchildren for most of the first year of their lives. Life passage events have come and gone, leaving holes in our hearts and tears in our eyes recalling the loss and void.

Thank goodness for technology and FaceTime and Zoom, but it has not been the same. Sharing the stories of our family reunions after vaccination is finally sharing the joy of being a grandparent, the reward for raising children.

We know we should preserve these important stories of our lives, so sharing this is important. CNN has been covering reunions. Here is a link to several. My favorite video, which I keep watching over and over, is of the vaccinated grandmother who received a prescription from her doctor providing permission to hug her granddaughter. I understand not wanting to let go. I love seeing the joy on her face.

PopPop and I remained connected with the older grandchildren. They could remember us. We worried about our baby grandchildren. A year in the life of a three year old is a third of their life. So much change in this year of living with the pandemic. We worried that it would take time for the littlest one to let us hug him.

The week before we were coming, I remembered what happened on our oldest grandson’s second birthday.  He is now seventeen and getting ready to go off to college. At age two, he was in love with Elmo, so PopPop and I rented an Elmo costume for his small birthday party. That was not an easy feat to do, finding such a costume to rent that many years ago. We had his over six foot uncle in the Elmo costume come into the room where he and his best friend were with us and their parents and family. As soon as the toddlers saw Elmo they screamed and cried in fear. They expected the Elmo they loved to be two feet tall as on television, not a giant. Our son-in-law, who was dying of the heat in that hot costume, was so happy he could take off the Elmo costume immediately. And the little ones were happy to see Elmo disappear.

Every day we had FaceTime with our youngest grandson the week before we would be visiting him for the first time in over a year, I reminded him that we were not little, we were as big as his mommy and daddy. I continually worried that he too would run away from us and be scared of us like his oldest cousin was of then beloved Elmo.

Our youngest grandchild jumped into our arms and did not let go. I have tears in my eyes sharing this. He came into our bed when he woke up, usually very early, but we were overjoyed. He cuddled under the covers, played being in a tent, lying between us as he watched television, we played with him, or read him a book. He did the same before he went to bed. He wanted to be in our laps always. It did not make up for a year of so much loss, but the brain is amazing at forgetting pain.

He did not want us to leave after a week. His older two brothers lived their lives and we shared their lives in the week, hugging them was no less joyful when we could get a hug in. For us, hugging our grandchildren brought peace after a year of hardship amid isolation.

You are more than welcome to share your stories of reunion with your loved ones after vaccination. I know I will look for those in the comments, and I will read them with both a smile and tears in my eyes.

Whether you share them in this blog or not, do preserve this important memory. The pandemic is a once in a lifetime event, hopefully, and one that will remain in our grandchildren’s memories forever. Record the first hugs after a year of living with the pandemic. Let the grandchildren remember the joy of their grandparents hugging them for the first time after a year being a happy memory forever.








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