It's difficult to think back to March 16 when we started our COVID quarantine. Did we think it would last so long and impact so many? The pain and grief of illness, the absence of socialization and the loss of stability is unimaginable. I am hoping as you read this, there is the beginning of what we used to call "normal". Mine is not a unique story. I know of many moms who were unable to participate in the birth of a grandchild, but it is an experience I had not imagined. This is for all the grandparents who are loving from a distance.
Our experience starts last December when we learned our daughter was pregnant with what would be our second grandchild. Our 4 year old granddaughter, Stella, would be a big sister! Little did we imagine how COVID would change our expectations. The last time we hugged family was in February and was replaced with granddaughter jumping around the room on Face Time. After obstetrical appointments, the family would visit us from the driveway while we sat on the front porch. They kept Stella in the car, but when she became antsy, they let her out. It was heartbreaking to see Stella taking small steps towards us, trying to sneak in a hug, with parents pulling her back. A few weeks later, Stella learned all about "germs" on Sesame Street. She became shy and didn't want to come near - another heartbreak.
The last visit was 6 days before our daughter's scheduled C-section. As we waved goodbye from the porch, I had tears for not being able to give my daughter a huge hug before going to the hospital. There were to be no visitors except for her husband, who must stay and not leave. I’ll add “no visitors” includes the newborn photographer, so up to the parents this time.
The night before the C-section, my heart was heavy with prayers for a good outcome. The next morning I was up early to monitor the phone for news. 7:50 am we had a 7# 14 oz grandson! I think back to our first grandchild, sitting by daughter's bedside. Watching the birthing process progress, holding her hand,. Hearing "IT'S A GIRL!”, leaving to get some sleep and a quick return to hold the baby followed by frequent, daily visits.
The doorbell rang that morning and I found myself telling the visitor we just had a new grandson, except why was my voice shaky and on the verge of tears - ever notice how happy and sad can emote the same reaction?
Three days later, we had a quick drive by visit with Nathaniel sleeping in his car seat. I wonder what he will think of masked faces and muffled voices? Daughter was exhausted and experiencing postpartum/surgery pain. It was difficult to be unable to offer comforting hugs and kisses to all.
We're keeping up with texts. constant photos, videos and phone calls. We'll be patient until we get the word it’s time to visit. We're maintaining Phase I status for the next several weeks, even as Illinois "opens up". As a reminder of Pastor Trudy's sermon of a couple weeks ago - AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED! Terry and I participate in living a generous life where the need is greatest, most recently food donations for St. Andrews in West Chicago.
With health, safety, security, food and shelter, technology, the love and support of family and friends (including church staff), we are truly blessed. I pray you all feel blessed, safe and healthy as Illinois moves to more changes in Phase 3.