Grandparents Live in the Mobile Phone

I am convinced our youngest grandson thinks we live in his Dad’s phone. Thanks to the Coronavirus, we haven’t seen him since November 2019 when he was just nine months old. I doubt, given his age, he can relate to us in terms of flesh and blood – we are just characters like people on TV. We live in Dad’s phone. There but not there; people who disappear when he has the pleasure of pressing the ‘end call’ button.

It’s been tough witnessing his development via video calls through a screen 50 x 160mm. At his end, we are probably even smaller. His progression from crawling to taking his first steps, clapping hands, playing with his toys, reading books, bath time activities, and even his first words. 

I still remember the time our little granddaughter in France first saw us on the computer screen after a recent visit. Our daughter said her immediate reaction was to run around the back of the computer then look under the desk as she thought we were hiding.

I had secretly hoped we would at least see all our UK family at Christmas. Unfortunately, due to the massive increase in Coronavirus cases as it escalates (seemingly) out of control that is out of the question especially as we fall in the high-risk category. Even if we weren’t high-risk we would need to quarantine and then in the UK there is the rule of six and various other restrictions which I’ve lost track of.

At least with our four older grandchildren aged six, seven, and two at nine years old we have spent more time with them. But even speaking to them on the phone it feels more like we are interrogating them than holding a two-way conversation: What are you learning at school? Tell us about your friends, Tai Chi, video games, cooking, gardening projects etc. There is no flow to the conversation as the silence between questions grows longer and more pronounced.

Our trip to France on the 19th March to see our daughter and grandkids was canceled at the last minute when France went into State of Emergency and lockdown shortly followed by Portugal. Until then, despite the Coronavirus which some people were dismissing as just a flu virus, although apprehensive we were going. We are now wiser in hindsight as we had no idea the scale or how deadly the virus was going to prove to certain demographics.

At that point, we were still looking forward to our French family coming to us in May. But again it was canceled.

The summer dragged on and with no travel prospects in sight I decided now would be a good time to progress my knee replacement operation which took place at the height of the tourist season so beaches, bars and restaurants, travel, etc was off-limits anyway.

The physical pain of not being able to hug our family is beginning to take its toll.

Our hopes were raised then dashed when our daughter floated the idea of visiting Portugal during half-term holidays in October. Her plan was to stay in a hotel so although we would remain socially-distanced, at least see them all in the flesh. At that point, in moments of desperation, I even considered investing in full PPE so we could give them a physical hug.

Sadly it was not to be. We missed the window of opportunity during the summer when reported cases hit a plateau. Within weeks they began to soar and as I write this France, on the 15th October, reported over 30,000 their highest since the pandemic began And Portugal over 2,000 which I doubt is an accurate figure because the population is bloated by tourists.

As I research potential Christmas presents to spoil the grandkids and family tears well from deep within me as I realize I no longer have any idea of their latest craze or real interests. 

It’s going to be a long hard winter and right now all we have to look forward to is survival as we adapt to the ‘new normal’. The highlight’ probably spending Christmas day on the local beach, which in itself will be surreal as we remember the happy memories from last Christmas when our French family came to stay.

Going forward I see no way ahead either to travel safely but also share hugs while we are in the iron grip of the pandemic. So, for now, we are the grandparents who live in the mobile phone.

Are you missing your family?


15 thoughts on “Grandparents Live in the Mobile Phone

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  1. That’s so sad Carole. I miss my family in Portugal too, and my daughter just moved from the Philippines to Germany. She had booked to come and visit in March for my 60th, but the borders were closed the day before she was to fly. The she rescheduled to September for Dad’s birthday and that wasn’t possible either….So now she’s moved further away and who knows when we will see each other again.
    Big virtual hug xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can just imagine your granddaughter running around to the back of the computer.

    I am so lucky in that our children both live about a 15 minute drive away presently. As the virus first hit, as they were both working with people who had probable contact with the virus they stopped coming to visit and I didn’t cope very well at all. I was so used to seeing them on an at least weekly basis. Then, after a few weeks we did a few socially distanced visits in the garden. But now the numbers have risen here, to higher than they were at any other time (on our map we have now turned red) and I have no idea what this means for the the next few/weeks or months.

    The rest of my family, and many of my friends live predominantly in the UK. A couple are scattered elsewhere. This year several families had planned to visit us (the first, a very close friend, in March). Her daughter married last week and I would love to have been at the wedding. They’ve sent me lots of pictures and I sent a nice gift. But it’s not the same.

    I haven’t seen my nieces or nephews since last year. They live about an hour away, but apart from my two children who have moved out we keep to ourselves. My husband is working in the home office, but I find it very lonely.
    I actually ordered them something nice for Christmas already. I got them drinking bottles which are supposed to be environmentally friendly, and I’m having their names put on them. I’ll fill them with sweets and put a cool mask with them. Perhaps that’s an idea for one or more of your grandchildren? What I know from my students, is that they are very interested in anything to do with the environment at the moment.

    I really hope that it will not be too long before you see your loved ones again. Virtual hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarsm, your family so close yet so far. 😦 I think the sooner we can encourage children and the non believers to think about the environment the better. COVID is the cherry on top of a shite muffin. The planet is in crisis.

      It is lonely … sending {{{{virutal hugs}}}}

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you I have family in different places – our trip to Canada to see one of my brothers was cancelled, my other brother died in March and I was unable to travel for the funeral (which in any case was delayed by weeks), I have relatives waiting for operations that have been postponed…One bright star is one of my nephews lives in Christchurch and we will go down to see him, his wife and brand new baby next week. Her parents are in Japan, so we will be the only family who will get to meet him. I do hope you get to see your family soon. As much as Zoom is not as good as the real thing, it is wonderful to at least see people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am sorry to hear one of your brothers died in March. It must have been heartbreaking you could not get to the funeral but as you say one bright star least go and see the new baby.

      Last time I checked NZ was doing a great job of controlling the virus and everyone was pulling together. I hope it is still the case?

      Stay safe


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