Worries of a Covid Captive Grandma

Before the pandemic, unless I was traveling, I would see my grandkids every other week. I would arrive at their house at noon, stay overnight and then leave around noon the next day. Since the new normal, I have only seen them two times for a total of less hours than I could count on my fingers. Time looms before me as I have stayed confined. Time also seems compressed as a deadly virus forces me to reassess the length of my life and the lives of everyone on this planet.. The months, the weeks, the days, the hours tick by. They almost lose their meaning as I wait and wait for the familiar to return. Time has lost its shape, its structure.

by Salvador Dali

My son, daughter-in-law and grandkids came for a visit on July 5th, 12:00-4:00. Four short hours. So many smiles, so much joy and then they were gone.

I worried that I hadn’t done enough. This really bothered me. For the first time, I wrote my grandkids a letter hoping to fill in the blanks of what I felt I hadn’t conveyed in our short visit.

July 6, 2020
My dear sweethearts,

After you left, I looked at all the things you played with and made. I’m amazed how wonderful each one of is and I’m so proud of you.

R. (my 9 year old granddaughter), my creative storyteller, you looked at my new calendar and thought about the passage of time.

Your wonderful imagination took over and you created a world where time could be controlled . You drew it on paper as you explain it to me.

It was the beginning of a great adventure. That is what writers do. They observe and wonder what would happen if things were different. Sometimes they see the things no one else sees or understands and they open the world to new possibilities. Never be ashamed of you imagination. The world needs the wonderful excitement that shines through your stories.

C. (6 year old grandson), I think you saw the wonder I saw in the golden mushrooms on the tree that had worked so hard to stay alive as it rested on its side. New life is now forming on its dead form as a sign of hope, telling us that nothing in nature really dies.

I loved the way you, R., and K. enjoyed seeing the styles of different artists as we looked through that art book.

C., you jumped into creativity with those oil pastels. It takes bravery and strengthen to be an artist. A person has to let go of doubt and be free. Connor, your picture of the cat shows you have great courage. I think you know that nothing has to be perfect when you are doing art, that there is no right or wrong.

R., I see that strength in your drawings, too.

K. ( my grandson, five), I am impressed that you are so observant. I’m glad we got to look at the Da Vinci pop up book. Like you, he looked at everything, birds, the human body, everything!!! And then he invented things and built things. He never gave up or got frustrated because he knew he would always figure things out.

You are a builder, K.

You are brave when you have a problem. You look and look and find a solution. Your construction crew will look up to you for the answers. You will invent and build just like Da Vinci. I can’t wait to see the wonderful things that you will create.

My sweethearts, I love when you come to visit and I visit you. I watch as each one of you use your talents. I am so, so proud of you.

Love forever and always,

Babci (Polish for grandmother)

I mailed the letter and I worried and wondered like all grandmothers do. Did I make the most of each moment? Did I hug my grandkids enough? Do they realize just how much I love them? Did I teach them enough? Did I listen and encourage them enough? The world and the future are so uncertain. I hope for the best, that the world will heal because I have so much more I want to give to my dear sweethearts.

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70/7000 Back Home, Reading My Journal

Labor Day Weekend 2001


Strange to be home. The rooms are spread out with many steps between things but  I will get used to it again.

I called my son and daughter, relatives, and friends.  Unpacked, did some laundry,  picked up my mail and went through it.   Then I went off to school to set up my classroom.  I had a lot to do but  I took a deep breath and tired not to get discouraged.  This was part of the the plan, to really concentrate my effort in a short amount of time.  It was a small price to pay for having an almost  infinite vacation.

My journey had become a personal odyssey, a search for answers, a time to be alone and think. I sat down with my journal, eighty pages of pouring out my heart under the stars and unraveling mistakes and regrets in the shadows of beautiful mountains. I flipped through the pages, reading what I had written and realized what  whiner I am.  My thoughts had been filled with so many worries and complaints.  It was at this moment, staring down at my pen and pencil scribbles, that I learned the lesson I had traveled so far to discover. It was a subtle truth but a very powerful one. It is simply to enjoy each day, each moment and not worry about all the bad things that may or may not happen. Through my whole trip I worried that my van might break down, that something was wrong with the tires, or I had ruined the brakes when I had gone down the steep mountain. It was foolish because nothing happened. My vacation would have been much more enjoyable if I hadn’t brought my anxiety with me.

I found out that  I will be an inclusion teacher this year, something I have never done before. I’m also the new president of my local Toastmasters’ International. Again, something I have never done before. I’m not going to worry about any of it!