Whether we were able to fly to see the across-the-country grandkids used to depend on two things: could we afford the ticket and — when we were working — could we spare the time?
Now whether or not we get to see our grandkids who live 2,000 miles away depends on one thing: is it safe to fly?
The Mister and I are 68 and 69 years old, in that “vulnerable” age bracket for Covid-19. We have sheltered in place since March. No trips to stores, church, or restaurants. No social gatherings. My Book Club meets on Zoom. I can honestly say our risk level has been at zero.
But as the country begins to open back up, what risk level are we at if we board an airliner? No one can tell us. Many airlines are requiring masks. Some airlines say they will “try to keep the middle seat open” which to me means only if they can’t sell it. News reports and Facebook postings show deserted flights in some cases … and packed flights at other times. You won’t know how crowded your flight is in advance.
I admit that having family members far away always has always caused a low level anxiety factor. More than occasionally I wonder: what happens if someone gets sick and needs us? In an emergency, how fast can we get there? Since 2002 when our kids started to move to states far away, I have always been comforted by the fact I could get there in probably 24 hours. Not ideal, but it was a solution I took for granted.
Now I can’t be there without … risking my life? Is that too strong of a statement? I admit this has me tossing and turning on those sleepless nights. If they need me right now, I can’t be there. Only those of us with out-of-town kids and grandkids would understand this awful feeling.
Trying to look forward.
We are considering driving — but are hotels and restaurants safe for our 4-5 day trip from our Ohio home to their Washington state home? Maybe we’ll try that this summer if it seems right.
Our littlest grandchild is crawling. You know that’s a short stage before he will toddle. Are we going to miss it entirely? His three older siblings are growing and changing and we’re missing out. Happily, our peach of a daughter-in-law makes sure we get FaceTime visits many times a week. But still, I can tear up thinking about the joy of holding each of them. Hugging. Gobbling someone’s neck. Drying them after a bath. Watching Grandpa play “Who’s on my back?” as he lies on their living room floor pretending to take a nap and the grands climb on him.
For me, this low level panic has been the worst part of the pandemic. I know that makes me lucky compared to some. But still.
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Do you have plans for airline travel? How are you coping? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.