So Close, Yet So Far Away: Social Distancing and Grandkids

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I‘ve always felt fortunate to live about a mile from my grandson, so close I often ride my bike to his house. I have always felt sorry for my friends who live halfway across the country from their grandkids and, therefore, see them less frequently. As the Coronavirus rapidly escalates, that mile between my grandson and me might as well be another continent. For all practical purposes, I have temporarily become a long-distance grandmother.

I hate to admit it, even to myself, but I am in the high-risk category because of my age. In the span of a week, I went from training for an Ironman to being classified as part of the older demographic who is most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. My self-esteem is suffering from severe whiplash! According to an article in the New Yorker, many Boomers are having a hard time accepting the fact we are in the “older vulnerable” category and need to self-quarantine. We still feel young and healthy!

I do have a tendency to catch every little bug that goes around, so I am choosing to self-isolate. I like to think it’s only going to be a few weeks, but do any of us really know? Whatever it takes to stay healthy and to keep others healthy, I’m willing to do it. As the meme says, “Our grandparents were asked to go to war, we’re just asked to sit on the couch.” I think I can manage.

My daughters have no choice; they both work at jobs with a high level of customer contact. I worry about the possibility of my daughters becoming sick. I’m grateful my son-in-law is a stay-at-home dad and has made the wise choice to isolate at home with my grandson. Our priority has to be health and safety, but here I am still whining because I can’t see my grandson. I’ve been singing Carole King’s song, So Far Away, off and on all day. The lyrics seem mostly appropriate-

So far away
Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
It doesn’t help to know you’re just time away
Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh how I wish I could but you’re so far away

I’m accustomed to seeing Callister two or three times a week, so going cold turkey isn’t easy. I am, for the time being, a long-distance grandparent. He’s so close, yet he seems so far away. I’ve decided I’m going to try to keep up some form of contact with him these next few weeks, connection that is safe for both is us.

These are the things I’ll do to keep in contact-

  1. Call-Call your grandkids and chat. Kids are out of school and restricted to home, so even older kids have time to talk to the grandparents. Older grandkids probably prefer a text.
  2. Facetime-Facetime is great: you get to talk to your grandkids with the bonus of seeing their sweet faces! For younger kids, Facetime is especially good because they understand who they are talking to.
  3. Snail Mail– I hesitate to include this because I am unsure of the contagion issue, but from what I have read, it is still considered safe.
  4. Youtube channel– Reading books together is one of our favorite activities, so I recorded myself reading his favorite books. You can click here to see me read to him. You could do this and send it via text, but I think it’s fun to have a Youtube channel!

I realize these measures are mostly for me; Callister will be fine. He may miss coming to Grandmom’s house to play, but he has loving parents, two dogs, and a cat to keep him busy. I’m the one going through withdrawals from him. If you’re a parent, don’t forget to check on the grandparents. Many of us “Boomers and Beyond” are feeling lonely and isolated, a little lost without our normal social interactions and routines.

The Coronavirus is tough on all of us, but one of the facts I am most grateful for is that children appear to be the least affected demographic. With schools out for the next three weeks, many grandparents are being called on to provide child care. That role has its own challenges and joys. The virus has changed our world in a short time, but I’m optimistic it will be a short-term situation. Let’s hope and pray it passes soon, we all emerge healthy and strong and resume our treasured relationships.

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I miss this face!


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Categories: Grand Life

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