When will I see my grandkids again? A bit of pandemic panic.

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.

21 thoughts on “When will I see my grandkids again? A bit of pandemic panic.”

  1. I thought I was alone in feeling this way. My granddaughters are 1,925 miles away. Friends talk about missing hair appointments and getting cheated out of beach time and I just want to wrap my arms around my granddaughters. I too feel a sense of panic. How long will it be?????

    Reply
    • Barb, it does help knowing others have seeing their grandkids as their #1 priority. Thanks for sharing. Let’s hope we feel confident about getting on an airplane real soon.

      Reply
  2. So absolutely on target! We spend time plotting how we might make a trip work, but don’t want to add complication to their lives either. It helps to hear others are feeling the same challenges. Trying hard to fight a little envy for those who can at least have backyard visits.

    Reply
    • I battle with the envy part, too, Nancy. I sometimes actually bite my tongue when others talk about missing their in-town grandchildren and add, “I’m so used to seeing them” as if that makes their pain more than mine — who should be used to not seeing them, do they mean? Yeesh.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  3. My feelings exactly. I know I’m very lucky that this is my biggest problem but it is getting very intense. I have 2 six year olds in Maine, & a 6 & 4 year old in California. I’m in Texas. My daughter found the 4 year old crying in his room yesterday & he told her he missed Mamere. She helped him call me & while we were talking he asked me if I knew where they were. Stabbed me in the heart that he was thinking I had forgotten how to get there.

    Reply
  4. My feelings exactly. I know I’m very lucky that this is my biggest problem but it is getting very intense. I have 2 six year olds in Maine, & a 6 & 4 year old in California. I’m in Texas. My daughter found the 4 year old crying in his room yesterday & he told her he missed Mamere. She helped him call me & while we were talking he asked me if I knew where they were. Stabbed me in the heart that he was thinking I had forgotten how to get there.

    Reply
    • Next time I feel sorry for myself, I’ll think of you, Sara, with grands on opposite coasts — and you’re in Maine. My gosh.
      Your story about your four-year old grandson wondering if you had forgotten where he was! Oh my goodness, how heart-breaking.
      We’ll get through this … and the sooner the better.

      Reply
    • I’m with you. We live in Indiana, have four young grandkids in Alaska, one 5 month old in North Carolina, and an even newer one in Hawaii that we haven’t met.

      Reply
      • Little ones in Alaska, Hawaii, and North Carolina — and two of them under 6 months old?!? Oh, Carolyn, your heart must be pulled in so many ways. I’m sitting here, just shaking my head.

        I wish you safe travel very soon.

        Reply
    • We are also in Texas, considering a road trip to Southern California to see our son and family. 1300 miles or so. We’ve booked 2 nights in hotels and will eat from ice chest and drive thru. Will need to make potty stops. Is this an advisable trip? We are both 70.

      Reply
      • Tough decisions, right, Sharon? I’m right there with you, trying to figure out how much risk to take.
        Thanks for the mention about an ice chest. That would limit our number of stops!

        Reply
        • We are biting the bullet and driving to Cali. Leaving on the 8th. Found two hotels that I consider safe and will eat at drive thru or from our cooler. Would appreciate good thoughts. Our toddler just started walking.

          Reply
          • California, here you come! Have a safe and happy trip, Sharon. Enjoy your walking toddler!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing! I, too, have a grandchild who is just learning to crawl, and another one turning three. My daughter, her husband, and family are in Canada, so I have the international border to deal with…it used to be so easy to fly there. I’m not thrilled with flying going forward…with the airlines hurting so badly, will the planes be well maintained or will they have rusted parts from lack of use? So thankful for technology.

    Reply
    • I never thought about the airplane safety thing, Joann. Let’s hope the airlines know how to maintain these airplanes — which I bet they do because they are so enormously expensive!
      I hope you get to be hugging your Canadian grandchildren soon!

      Reply
  6. Concerned here too! Missing that summer trip…didn’t realize how important it was to us til now. Praying God will find a way! Thank God for FaceTime! I too just feel I need those hugs and kisses. Can’t help but imagine when that time comes and it will the moments will be so much sweeter! Take care, be safe, and remember God knows our hearts and He has a plan!

    Reply
  7. I have two grandsons about 30 min away..5 and almost 2. The 5 year old can handle a porch or park visit, the two year old doesn’t understand, so we haven’t seen him. We have a 4 day old grandson just born in San Diego…we have no idea when we will get to see him. Thankfully we have Zoom visits and FaceTime or google duo!

    Reply
    • A new grandson — congratulations, Nina! In the midst of all this pandemic mess, it’s nice to hear about new arrivals but it sure is hard on the grandparents. I hope you will hold him in your arms soon. Until then, California Dreaming, right?

      Reply
  8. Thank you for sharing this. I live in Ohio and two of my grandchildren are in Utah. And this is the hard part for me, I haven’t seen them since Halloween. They had plans to come here, and us to go there, but then the pandemic hit. I also am scared to travel yet and have remained inside since March. I hope things get better for all of us soon.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Penny, and I thank you for sharing. “Since Halloween” is a long time. I am so sorry – for you, for me, for all out of town grandparents … and most of all, the grandkids who are getting cheated.

      Jane

      Reply

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