Tuesday, November 24, 2020


 I am the grandma of two. One lives nearby and I see him regularly. I am his caregiver when school is out and his parents are working. William is 9, and he is a source of great joy. 

Iris lives five and a half hours away. She is only two. She is also a source of great joy, but the fact is, most of that joy has been through videos that I am sent. 

Things change quickly when a child is two, and I've been struggling mightily with this whole covid thing. I've only seen her three times this year. I missed her birthday. Every time that I saw her, she seemed like a whole different child, clicking off milestones one right after another, and I was missing them all.

My daughter in law is a nurse and she had a training to do so I went out there in September. At the time, we had somewhere between 30 and 40 cases for the county (since March). I got in my car and drove straight there without stopping. Once there, I stayed there. Then I got in the car and drove straight home again, non-stop. 

I still felt pretty guilty about it.

I did a stupid thing. I got my Christmas shopping done early. Filled with ideas from my visit, I ordered her gifts. A sensible person would have had the things shipped to THEIR house. I've never been accused of being sensible. As stupid as it sounds, it just didn't occur to me that I wouldn't see them again before the end of the year.

It should have. 

Suddenly Covid's second wave hit. Cases were spiking where they were. They are spiking here as well, increasing 40% in the past week alone. A local restaurant has shut down due to a rash of positives. A daycare has shut down due to the high number of cases among the children. Schools are preparing the kids for a shutdown.(I kind of have a hunch that kids will not return to physical classrooms after the Thanksgiving holiday, but that is just a hunch.)

Weather also gets pretty dicey this time of the year. 

I could mail the packages, but it occurred to me that it would be cheaper to put everything in a car and drive it there. I knew that a visit was not a good idea.

 My daughter in law felt that it didn't matter when Iris got her gifts, but...

It mattered to me...a lot. 

And so I got this idea, the wildly impractical idea of driving one dollhouse, one folding table and chair set (Trolls), and the presents from her aunt and uncle and cousin William along with a largish box of clothing that I've been picking up piece meal every time I got to a thrift store. 

It was, as I said in the last post, completely impractical. Unreasonable. Silly. One made totally on the basis of emotion. Pure grandma emotion. 

But I kept thinking it over. I could drive the five and a half hours out there, set the stuff on their front porch and then head back home. If I didn't enter their house, if I didn't hug anybody, if I just dropped the gifts off and left, I wasn't putting anyone at risk. 

After a couple days of trying unsuccessfully to talk myself out of it, I finally got up the nerve to talk to Tim about it. Sitting in bed, I finally got the courage to tell him what I was going to do. 

He looked at me.

I studied my hands as I put on my hand lotion. I was waiting for him to blast my impractical nature.

He said, "We can do that." 

I said, "What? You'd go?"

He said, "Yes. We should do it before Thanksgiving. Rifle season opens Saturday. Plus if they shut the schools down, we can't expect William to sit for 11 hours in a car while we drive there and back. It would also kill him not to be able to spend time with Dylan."

He considered. "The weather is supposed to be good Monday. We'll get up early and head out." 

And so we did. 

We drove there, unloaded the trunk and then turned right around and headed out. I was a bit more blubbery than I expected to be. I wanted to knock on the door more than I ever wanted to do anything in my life. But I didn't. Tim and I set the stuff down, got into the car and headed for home. 

Partway there, we got a very shocked call from my daughter in law. "WHERE ARE YOU????!!! You should have told us!!!!" 

I told her that it would have been too hard for Iris to understand. We have such fun when we are there. For me to wave and head on home would have broken her little heart. The fact of it is that it would have broken mine too. 

There were a hundred very good reasons why it was a ridiculous thing to do. 12 hours later, we were pulling back into our own driveway, and only one reason mattered: Iris' Christmas was delivered. 

In these strange days, the little things matter. A lot.


  1. I think it was a totally understandable thing to do - I'm sure I'd've done exactly the same in your shoes x

  2. Oh wow. Love does strange things to us, but it is so wonderful isn't it?.

  3. It is, Jaycee. As we came home in the dark, we saw a lot of Christmas decorating. I don't believe that I ever noticed decorating done so far in advance before. But let me tell you, I noticed it last night, and it was beautiful.

  4. That's a wonderful selfless thing to do and will mean so much to her as she gets older. Especially when she looks back at the weird and wonderful year that is 2020!

  5. Your trip makes sense to me, and probably does to anyone who is a grandmother.

  6. I've been struggling with a similar situation with my grandmother. She has been locked down since March in her assisted living residence with no visitors allowed. Part of me wants to go up there and meet her outside but I also know that should I accidentally pass on Covid to her, it would most likely take her life and I don't think I could live with that. She can't do video calls so thus far, it has just been phone calls. But it breaks my heart to hear her as she slowly declines with age and I can't be there.

    We decorated this past weekend since we don't have any Thanksgiving plans outside of just us. I still haven't turned on the outside lights and won't until probably Thanksgiving evening.

  7. A friend's mother was in a home due to dementia issues. During the lockdown, they saw her decline with astonishing rapidity. Deprived of family contact, she began to lose touch with reality all together. Frightened to lose her completely, they brought her home. She still has dementia issues. She also fell and broke her shoulder the first week home. But she's doing much better mentally. These days are taking an awful toll on our seniors.

  8. I love this so much! Lucky Iris to have grandparents like you!

  9. I’m pretty fragile right now and you just pushed me over. LOVE THIS!

  10. A fine and indeed moving account of the current challenges we face. I too, have rarely been accused of being sensible (although I have sometimes been called intelligent, indeed one of my favourite quotes remembered from my dear dead father, is "How can someone as intelligent as you always be so bloody stupid?" :)

  11. My grand sons birthday is Dec. 18. I always send his gift the first part of Dec. so he can enjoy both birthday and Christmas as two holidays. You know people without grands think we might be crazy but when they have one it all comes to them, grands are so special. I have one in South Korea that we will not get to see for another year, that is hard for me.

  12. Good for you. You helped Iris have a memorable Christmas. I don't think it was a crazy thing to do at all! (I kind of miss long drives, actually. I never have the opportunity to do them here!)

  13. Another year? Yikes, Ellie. That IS rough. I am so grateful for the technology we have that bridges these distances. It makes being a long distance grandma easier.

  14. Well, I think you are a very special person to have done this.

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