Diary of A Modern Gran | Reunions and Dinosaurs

Lady pushing pram Illustration: Istockphoto

It’s 15 days after my first positive test. And finally I’m negative! I can’t wait to go round to see my grandchildren. My symptoms have not been pleasant. Terrible aches, congestion, chest pain, exhaustion, loss of taste, and brain fog.

But none of them have been as bad as the emptiness in my heart because I haven’t been able to see Rose and George – even though it was the latter who probably gave it to me in the first place!

I can’t wait to hug them and yet I’m also a little nervous. What if I’m still carrying a remnant of the virus despite having followed all the isolation guidelines? My daughter caught the virus twice in a month.

“It will be alright, Mum,” assures my daughter on my third day of testing negative. So round I go. Wow! I never used to be this breathless on my bike.

I knock on their door excitedly. The shutters on their blinds go up. A little face appears. Then the door opens. “Gan Gan,” says Rose in a voice of wonder as if I have appeared by magic. “Are you better now?”

She jumps up to give me a kiss but I’m too scared to let my face touch hers. Is this what the virus has done to us? Am I being over fussy or careful? I honestly don’t know.

Meanwhile, my husband – who has hardly had any symptoms possibly due to the viral tablets which the hospital gave him – is still positive. He’s missing the children as well and is spending his time researching the Internet for the perfect toy dinosaur. George is very keen on them.

Talking of dinosaurs, the last two years has made me feel older even though I’d always considered myself to be a young 60 something year old. Do you feel the same?

But now I’m determined to get back into the swing.

The following day, I collect George from nursery. My first school run for ages! He emerges, clutching yet another paper plane. At this rate, we could set up our own airline! That reminds me of something I’ve meant to mention before. How do you decide which works of art to keep and which to throw away? I don’t like to chuck anything my grandchildren give me – which is possibly why my “bits and pieces drawer” in the kitchen is stuffed with drawings to the extent that It doesn’t close properly.

It’s so lovely to hold his little hand in mine again. But I have another mission. “Mum,” says my daughter. “Would you mind driving me to a girls’ night out please?”

Of course not. It’s such a relief to get back into normality. But I speak too soon. Why is it that children think they know better than their parents – especially when it comes to driving? “You should be in third gear and not second,’ she remarks two minutes in. “And you’ve got to tuck into the left so the car coming up can go past. It’s their right of way.”

I know. Give me a chance!

This reminded me of something…

I read about a telephone messaging service which has been set up by an enterprising school in the States. Children leave recorded messages of advice and positive thoughts for adults in return for donations to charity. What an interesting idea! My grown-up children are always giving me advice. Their favourite is to chill out and again, they might have a point. Meanwhile, I am always telling my 98-year-old father not to watch so much news on television because it distresses him. But he carries on. Maybe that’s the whole point about successive generations. Neither listens to the other!

As I write, it’s coming up to Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday as my mother always used to call it. She was quite insistent on that one. My daughter is on the phone more than usual. “I’m trying to liaise with the boys,” she says referring to my sons who are in London and Spain respectively. “It’s a nightmare – especially as your favourite soap is out of stock.”

“Please,” I say, “don’t get me anything. I’d rather you saved your money. I’d be very happy with a card and a hug.”

In fact, I’ve got all their Mother’s Day cards over the years in a special place on my dressing table. I’m also aware that this is not an easy time for many people, for all kinds of different reasons. I particularly recall the time when I was desperate for a baby after a miscarriage and my mother was trying to comfort me.

Some months ago, I had an email from a reader who didn’t know how to help her daughter who was sadly going through this. My advice was to give lots of hugs and cuddles; be there to talk when she wanted and not talk when she didn’t; and also explore all the medical possibilities.  Then recently, an email dropped into my inbox from the same reader. Her daughter had just given birth! How wonderful. It shows that good things can happen.

Have you had some good news recently? If so, I’d love to hear about it. We all need as much as possible. Please email us at moderngran@dctmedia.co.uk

You’ll have to excuse me now. I’ve been asked to make some flapjacks for a cake sale our local church in aid of the Ukraine situation. My own much loved mother was a fantastic cook. Unfortunately, the cooking gene passed me by (although my daughter is a natural!). I did have a go last night but my flapjacks were a disaster. So I’m going along with a financial donation instead.

“Good idea,” says my husband approvingly unwrapping a parcel which the courier has just delivered.

“So you don’t like my cooking?” I say.

“It’s not that,” he says quickly. “Oh wow, look at this!”

He points to the kitchen table. The flow test kit is sitting there. It’s negative. Freedom day has arrived.

“Think I’ll pop round and see the grandchildren now,” he says.

He’s out of the door within seconds. I’m sure I can see something poking out of his jacket pocket. It looks suspiciously like a dinosaur…

PS Just adding this before we go to print. I hope you had a wonderful Mothering Sunday. We had lunch in the garden (great food made by my son-in-law) followed by an assault course (Rose and George won!) and the junior netball stand (yes – I can still get the ball in the net!). I was also spoilt by presents: accessories for my GoPro swimming device so I can take pictures while swimming and also a book and flowers. But the best thing was talking to my children on FaceTime – and seeing little Rose’s face light up with excitement at being allowed to join in the adult conversation! (George had gone to bed by then so don’t tell him!) Everyone spoke at once – it was almost like the old days when they were all at home. I felt quite nostalgic.

But there is one big positive. I don’t have to make sure they’ve done their homework. Nor do I have to make sure they’ve got clean clothes for school the next day. Or find that missing trainer for games. Yes – there are definite advantages in being a granny!

The Funny Things They Say

Thank you to Lisa, a regular reader who sent this in:

“When I was babysitting my grandsons, I found a little note that the eldest had written to his brother. It said, ‘I’m sory.’

“What did you do?” I asked him.

“I hid one of his toys,” he replied.

“Well done for writing him a note,” I told him. “By the way, the word ‘sorry’ has two ‘r’s in it.’”

“I know,” he said. “But I was only a little bit sorry so I left one out.”

Ask Agony Gran

“My son and his partner have one little girl of five. I was hoping that they would have more children but it hasn’t happened. I’ve dropped a few hints but they’ve always avoided the subject. I don’t know if I should drop it or ask outright if they’re going to have another. What do you think?” Kay, Nottinghamshire

Jane replies:

“My instinct, Kay, is to be very careful here. You say you’ve dropped a few hints and they’ve avoided the subject. Perhaps you should take your cue from that. Maybe they’ve tried for another baby and nothing has happened. Or perhaps they had a miscarriage which they didn’t want to talk about. Indeed, they might have decided that one child is enough. Whatever the reason, it sounds as if they want to keep this to themselves.

“Part of me wonders if you’re troubled because you would like another grandchild. This is totally understandable. But maybe this is one to leave alone. Families have fallen out over less. Having said that, your son and his partner might want to confide in you in the future. If that’s the case, your understanding could be invaluable.  You don’t say how often you are able to see your granddaughter but maybe you could help out by babysitting or staying overnight to give her parents time as a couple. You never know what might happen!”

Grandparent of the Week – Eve, 75, from Dorset

Eve and her husband have four grandchildren, aged 6, 4, 2 and 6 months. The children live in Africa with their parents.

“We last saw our grandchildren last December.  It was the first time we’d all spent Christmas together so it was emotional but wonderful. Our daughter-in-law’s parents joined us too. We did the pantomime, a steam train ride, stockings – the whole Christmas thing!

“When they went back in early January, it was like a physical blow. We won’t be seeing them again until April next year.

Thank goodness for What’s App! Reception is poor because they are in a remote area but we exchange photos, audios and videos. I often send them pictures of famous paintings and say what I like about it as well as pointing out something that I think they would find interesting. Then they tell me what they like about the painting.

Dear Magpies book cover“They also love reading – books are particularly important as they don’t have access to a TV or radio. I’ve written them tales about animals and I’m planning on making a video story.

“I’ve also written an adult novel called Dear Magpies about a grandmother searching for her long-lost grandchildren who have disappeared on the other side of the world. Her search for them has stolen her peace of mind. In a way, this has helped me to cope with the long wait between each visit from my own grandchildren.

“My husband and I also keep in touch with the other grandparents. We get on very well and we met up recently for the weekend. It’s tough on them too so we support each other.”

Dear Magpies by Eve Bonham is published by SilverWood Books. Available from bookshops and online.

If you would like to be our grandparent of the week or tell us something funny about your grandchildren, please email us at moderngran@dctmedia.co.uk.

Jane’s new book – out June 23!

When Emily makes a mistake at work, she goes running home to Cornwall. But it seems that someone else has moved in during her absence.

Jane Corry is a Sunday Times best-seller and writes thrillers about families. Her next novel is called WE ALL HAVE OUR SECRETS and is about the complex relationship between father and daughter, set in Cornwall. You can pre-order here: http://linktr.ee/janecorry. If you would like a free bookmark, or to get in touch about anything else, please contact us at moderngran@dctmedia.co.uk.

Janes new book and QR code to order


Allison Hay

I joined the My Weekly team ten years ago, and I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazine. I manage the digital content for the brand, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters. I also work for Your Best Ever Christmas - perfect as it's my favourite time of year!