What happens when you visit people during the pandemic

Yesterday, I decided to drop off a few things at my parents’ place 30 minutes west of my home.

I texted them first with instructions.

“I’m bringing the kids by, we won’t come in the house, we’ll just stay in the front and on the driveway.”

Mom was thrilled. It’s been a bit of a slog for them recently, with my dad’s illness and my mom acting primary caregiver. But the good news is my dad is still relatively mobile and able to navigate around the house with little assistance, that is to say, once he’s up and about.

Neither of them have respiratory issues.

Still, it was a bit of an internal debate for me.

I knew how strongly the politicians discourage visits, yet at the same time encourage looking after, and caring for our seniors.

My family and I have been quarantined since March 13. I have left the house exactly 3x since then (supply runs) and have remained sheltered in place otherwise. I thought it was time for a visual of my parents. A reassurance to see they are managing ok through all this.

They are.

We had a fantastic visit sitting the standard 2 meters apart, with the children jumping around with a frisbee like monkeys every so often.

But that wasn’t even the best part.

The best part, as far as the teenage brains are concerned, were the two grocery bags the kids located immediately as soon as I pulled into the driveway.

They ran over to the lawn chairs mom had positioned in the open garage entrance and collected them, literally running back to the car.

Couple of expert smugglers, those two. πŸ˜€

Of course, me being me, I’m on high alert as soon as people bring stuff into my car and/or home. Remember my OCD post?

I’m not over it. πŸ˜›

Last thing I need, or want, is more stuff coming into the house. 😢

So, naturally, I had the kids bring the bags over for mom-approved inspection. One bag contained BBQ chips, pretzels and a slew of Lindt chocolate Easter bunnies and the other contained two butters, a giant Italian salami and a tetra pack of tomato soup.

It’s a grandma thing. She knows my two monkeys of mine intimately well. πŸ˜‰

(The butter was on sale during her last supply run, and she knows my girl likes to bake.)

MeanMomβ„’ (as I am often known) therefore transformed herself into NiceMomβ„’ (less often) when she approved the newly acquired contraband. πŸ˜‚

As we chatted out in the front garden, I recalled an email I received from my Italian aunt in Rome, my dad’s sister. I understand Italian enough to get by but prefer to have my parents help me with the translation if I get stuck.

I noticed something about my son when I mentioned the email. I was going to forward it to my mom so she could read it on her phone, but he said something to me that made me realize that maybe he does occasionally feel at least a little impressed by some things I do, or know.

He sat beside me on the bench and encouraged me to read the Italian email. I said:

“But my Italian isn’t that good.”

“Yeah, it is.” He said. “You understand Italian fine.”

For a kid who prefers less mothering in general these days, that comment was kind of heart-warming. πŸ’• Nicest thing he said to me all day and shows he has a confidence in my abilities that I didn’t share with him initially.

I choose to take this as a good thing.

So, I pulled it up and read it to everyone. It was addressed to my son. He had sent her an email in French a couple of weeks ago to thank her for the birthday gift she sent him.

(Turns out he was right. I understood all of the email just fine.) 😊

Side note: My kids don’t know Italian, but they attend a French Immersion school, and since everyone is multi-lingual in my family including my Italian aunt, well, there you go. Both my parents and my Italian aunt are fluent in French. (So was I at one time but I haven’t had a lot of occasion to practice…)

Anyway, we continued our little visit, but inevitably, at one point I had to pee. πŸ™„

This immediately inspired a lengthy explanation by my son to my parents that I, his mom, has a bladder the size of a pea. Ha ha. (Get it?) lol

Earlier, I had developed this whole procedure to enter the house, which I had detailed to the kids before left:

  • leave your shoes outside
  • wear gloves on your way to bathroom
  • don’t touch anything
  • use bathroom at back of house, the one my dad doesn’t typically use
  • wash hands and put gloves back on 😢
  • use soap…😐
  • don’t sneeze, cough, speak in the house, wait till you’re back outside…

Sigh…

It is highly unlikely we have the virus as it’s been weeks since the kids had any contact with people outside of our immediate family. But, if ever there was a time to be extra careful, it is now.

As you can imagine, speeches like this do earn me some lovely eye-rolls from the teen but whatever. Let him roll away. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the reality is if anyone ends up in a hospital today…You know what happens. You don’t need me to draw you a picture.

All in all, it was a pleasant visit and a boost to everyone’s mental health.

Also, my dad ate every single cookie I brought for him during the visit. πŸ™‚

Being locked-down for so long has been an exercise in patience for all of us, particularly because the end game isn’t really on anyone’s horizon yet. Just the other day I read that China finally lifted a few restrictions in Wuhan and 65,000 people departed the province almost immediately. This makes me shudder, and anxious.

But, the visit to my parents has given me insights and, quite frankly, a little bit of faith that we are quite capable of adapting to a new normal and remain flexible, and [relatively] calm.

There really is no other way.

24 thoughts on “What happens when you visit people during the pandemic

  1. I’m glad you visited your parents. Talking and watching them, even at a social distance, is surely a pressure exhaust valve imposed by the lockdown. A breath of new air and renewed strength to continue confinement.
    Greeting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading your posts makes me so grateful. Our lock down is less restrictive than most. Our numbers are good with early signs that the curve may be slowing.

    The big question for us is what will school look like on the other side of Easter?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am about 80% certain that it will be online delivery at least for part of the term. However there is always the provision that if you are an essential worker and you NEED your child to be at school then the are able to attend. At our school at least the teachers will be on campus and delivering their remote lessons from their regularly scheduled classroom. At least that was the plan when we went on Easter break last week!!!
        What will get annoying is if students decide for their parents that they NEED to be at school and we end up with an annoying class blend of kids at home AND kids at school. Given that a significant proportion of my students decided that the NEEDED to be at home before school actually closed to students and they have all effectively had a four week break, two of those weeks not being able to go anywhere or do anything with their friends I feel that there is a very real possibility of a significant number of students physically attending school.
        Who knows?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the lack of social life now will impact their desire to go back too. But when? Summer holidays begin July 1 here…will they resume normal school in September?

        I am cautiously optimistic, but hesitant too. I fear localized epidemics going into cold weather season may disrupt things again.

        Unless…there’s a cure by then? A vaccine?

        Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think that cold may have some impact here but our winter is as warm as your summer particularly in the northern parts. Also the density of our population is less than in a lot of places in Europe and the United States which also helps.
        Several research institutes and universities are reporting that they are working on a vaccine and other treatments. The best estimate for a vaccine is about 12 – 18 months.
        Hopefully you will be out by then.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you went to check on your parents. I think that’s very important. Mine are 1,200 miles away, and I worry about them β€” especially since they’re in Washington state. Pretty sure if I were still living there, we’d be seeing each other regularly…just spacing our chairs in their sunroom the government-mandated six feet apart, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That is so sweet. You have nice parents and they are alive. My mom cooked for me and would send me home with food. I was happy to help out my dad when he came to live near us in Florida.

    Depression era parents have good lessons which I will never forget about monies, treating people, and taking care of things.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve seen my parents several times (at a distance) since this whole thing started. Strange to stand on the porch, or in the driveway, and converse. Even more strange to leave without a hug…

    I am glad you got to see your parents. We all need them, even when we don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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