My family has been social distancing for two solid months now — we've been taking it very seriously because both my children have asthma — and there is so much we've missed out on. But the hardest thing for my children has been the absence of hugs and kisses from my parents. My parents play a huge part of my boys' lives, whether it's going over for sleepovers or spending lazy afternoons at their house after school. The sudden change of not being able to go to their grandparents' home for the last few months has been such a hard adjustment, for both my kids and my parents.
One of the biggest reasons I chose to move our family to our current suburban lifestyle was because of the proximity to my parents. Because my parents are pretty amazing at the whole grandparenting thing. They've always been up for filling in as babysitters and relished in their ability to take my kiddos off my hands at any given time. They actually lamented the fact that I had hired a high schooler to help with the boys when I felt that it was too much for them. Whether it was a last-minute emergency school pickup or a weekend of baking and binge-watching PBS kids shows, my parents were always willing to drop everything for a chance to spend time with my kids. I'm so grateful for it. And both my kids reciprocated wholeheartedly because, even at their age, they recognised the unconditional love my parents showered them with. And I'm sure that the "no-rules-at-grandma's" position proudly flaunted in my face helped, too!
So, this transition has been incredibly difficult for all of us. During this time, we go by regularly to do a quick driveway hangout where we all stand the required six-feet apart, but it's almost more difficult than not seeing them at all. The boys want to hug their grandparents and go racing through their house, raiding the secret junk-food cabinet that holds treasures just for them. But none of that is possible at the moment, and it's been heartbreaking to watch my parents restrain themselves while we hold the kids back from getting too close.
In a moment of exasperation during a visit, my dad even wondered out loud what the point of living was if we couldn't live our lives with the people we love. It's hard for my father to understand why we're being so strict with the thing that brings him the most joy in this world, his grandkids. However, he finished radiation for cancer late last year, and I can't risk him getting ill due to negligence on my family's part. So, we'll continue to self-isolate and make feeble promises to our kids that hopefully they'll get a sleepover soon. It's one of the hardest things we've all had to do. For everyone's sake, I hope that day comes quickly.