My four-year-old granddaughter’s nose is pressed against the window. So is my two-year-old grandson’s. They are trying to give me a kiss.
“Gan Gan can’t come in the house,” explains my daughter. “It’s not allowed at the moment.”
Amazingly, they seem to understand. Rose suddenly dashes off and comes back waving a piece of pink paper. There is a stick figure on it. “I made this for you,” she trills.
“I didn’t know she’d done that,” says my daughter. Then she holds open her arms with a hug. “Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy.”
Last Sunday will have been one of the strangest Mothers’ Day that many of us in our lifetimes have ever known. I wonder if it was like this for our own mothers during the war? At least we can see our grandchildren and children on phones, iPads, computers and (if we’re lucky), through windows instead of visualising them in a foreign trench somewhere.
For the last week, my grandchildren and their parents have been on lockdown because George threw a scary high temperature. The doctors said they had to have two weeks of self-isolation just in case.
Thank goodness they have a garden even though they have to walk round “the backs” to get to it. That, together with the fact that it hasn’t rained for a while – touch wood – has really helped. My daughter ordered a small football net online and it’s helped to distract them. Rose has proved to be particularly adept and we are hoping to enter her for the under-fives Olympics when all this is over.
“It’s fun!” she beams.
I am continually amazed at how accepting children can be of situations which throw us adults into turmoil. This one is no exception – so far.
But like many grandparents, I am finding this incredibly difficult. It’s the longest I’ve ever been apart from them, except from when they went on holiday for two weeks last year. This time last week, I couldn’t have believed this was going to happen.
Now I’m having discussions with my husband about childcare when it’s time for our children to go back to work. Most of my granny friends are saying they can’t do it any more because of the risk. I’m not in the 70 plus age group so I’ve decided to cross that bridge when we come to it. I’ll have to make a decision that is best for everyone’s health and I know it’s not going to be easy.
My daughter also has low immunity because of her arthritic drugs. And that worries me.
But I’m determined to be positive…
For some time, I’ve been thinking of writing a children’s story. But now I’ve begun. It’s almost ready for me to read a chapter a night to my little ones during our regular Skype calls.
I tried out a draft version on Rose the other evening. “What happens next, Gan Gan?” she asks when I finish. It’s always a good sign when the reader wants to know more so I’m going to keep going.
Meanwhile, my husband has decided he’s going to stage an online puppet show to amuse the children online.
“It’s going to be about monkeys and tractors,” he announces enthusiastically. Two-year-old George is absolutely mad about both so it’s bound to be a hit. I’m curious to see how my husband is going to handle the techie side but it will give him a project – something we all need at the moment…
Meanwhile, Rose and George are looking forward to their first online dance class. We’ve just had a poignant email from Rose’s dance teacher to say she’s going to have to stop until this is all over. The Easter show which they been practising so hard, will have to be delayed. The classes were the teacher’s only income. There are so many like her but that doesn’t make it any easier.
As soon as she’s back, we will be there to support her in person but in the meantime, we’re signing up for her online classes. I can’t help feeling guilty at how I used to moan a bit about fitting in the various after-school activities. When this is all over, I’ll never grumble again. Honestly.
“We’re all this in together,” reminds a granny friend. “We’ll help each other get through.”
Very true. And that includes you and me. I’d like to know how you are dealing with the C virus as a grandparent. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.