My three grown daughters and two stepdaughters have been calling me daily since coronavirus to make sure that I am careful. I am a senior.  Yes, I am the target population for the virus, but I consider myself in good health. Before the virus, I played tennis. I went to exercise classes.  I enjoyed my kids, grandkids, and my hobbies. It’s been a turnabout for my husband and me to have our grown children worrying about us, helping us, buying our groceries, and ordering us to “stay home.” 

One night, I spoke on the phone to Andrea, my oldest daughter.  She works as a first responder, a nurse at a hospital with COVID19 patients.  We hadn’t seen her in weeks, as she didn’t want us to be exposed to her or to her kids.  Her toddlers were home from pre-school. She had no childcare. She said she was exhausted. Her voice cracked.

“Oh sweetie, I’ll be right over,” I said.  How could I not help?  My husband told me that I was crazy.  I knew I wouldn’t go. I knew Andrea didn’t want me there, but I felt so helpless.  I couldn’t stand doing nothing.

The next day, I called Andrea and the kids to facetime.  Twenty-month-old Jeremy garbled at the screen, proud to have discovered speech.  Three-and-a-half year old Hannah grabbed the phone from her brother and gave me a virtual tour of her toys; a new set of blocks and a unicorn.  She took the phone into her pink tent and placed it on the floor I gazed up at pink, the plastic roof of the tent. Hannah chattered about her toys.  I heard Andrea’s voice off-screen telling Hannah that it was time for dinner. 

“Not now.  I’m playing with my grandma,” said Hannah.  I laughed and settled in, looking up at the pink tent roof while Hannah told her stories. This was a virtual play date, I realized.  It wasn’t what I had imagined when I wanted to help, but for now it was just right.

Thank you Sherry for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:

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