If I have learnt anything from lockdown, it’s that I really, really love my parents.
In times of panic, it’s always been them that I’ve run to. Exam results, break-ups, redundancies, hangovers, babies, hangovers with babies... and I cannot think of a single thing I’d like more in the world (Corona cure aside) than to sit on their sofa and watch them run round after my 19-month-old daughter, her howling with laughter, shouting ‘mama’ and ‘bapa’ at the top of her little lungs.
But, like so many families in lockdown, distance is the only option for the forseeable future. I’m in London while they are in Surrey, but we’d still manage to see each other every three weeks or so. So when lockdown happened, I was terrified about my happy place being unavailable, about my daughter not being able to see the grandparents 2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appshe loves so and I cried big, fat childlike tears about the prospect of weeks and weeks of separation from them.
My parents quietly did what they do best. They tried to make things better.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt was on day two of our isolation that my phone pinged with a message from their phone. It was a video of my mum reading Little Bear’s Bedtime, a favourite story of my daughter, Raffaella’s, with mum showing the pictures to the camera as she went along, describing what she could see on each page, just like she would if we were sat next to her. It was, quite honestly, the best present I’ve ever been given.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appShe did one the next day, and the next, and then I ordered them new books from the Internet. Those videos have become the highlight of both my daughter’s day, and mine, and now, thanks to their presence on Instagram (@mamababbstorytime), a highlight for anyone desperate to bathe in the warmth of parental love amidst all the madness.
So many of us need this in these most peculiar of times. My best friend FaceTimed me almost in tears — no mean feat for someone notoriously stoic — to show me the care package her mother-in-law had sent her 2-year-old daughter. Stickers and hair-clips and some contraband chocolate, a collection of favourite things in lieu of a cuddle. Another told me that her mother is writing and illustrating a story for her 3-year-old son, something she’s never done before. Small acts of love that mean the world to their recipient. There are to help the home schooling, grandmas playing Pictionary on the app House Party. Family online quizzes have become a thing with everyone shouting and laughing and talking over each other, like we were all together again.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appSo to Mum and Dad/Mama and Bapa, to Nonna and Grandad, and to all the grandmas and grandpas out there, thank you, really, for holding us all together, even when we’re so far apart.
'Grandpa' Babb, 70
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app"We are cautious because I had throat cancer at the end of last year. I do get worried that I’m not able to see the cancer doctor at the moment, but he doesn’t seem concerned, and I don’t feel anything wrong. The worst part of lockdown is definitely not being able to see our grandchildren, Charlie, 13, Georgia, 11, Scarlett, 6, and Raffy, 20 months. Usually we would see them at least every couple of weeks — they are all growing up and changing and we are missing that. It’s all very well, having Facetime, but you can’t cuddle them, they can’t sit on your lap, you can’t play together.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app"Just before the lockdown, we had four days when we took Raffy out on our own every day — we’re so looking forward to being able to do that again. When our son Toby and the whole team turned up at the front window on their bikes, I just thought it was lovely seeing them all. Unfortunately, you can’t even do that when you are living miles away.
"Little things to keep in touch mean so much — we enjoy FaceTiming so we can be there for storytime before bed, because we love that when Raffy stays. We lie on the bed, and she’s in her sleeping bag, all ready for bed, with her wet hair, joining in with the story. We miss that an awful lot. We can’t wait for things to be normal, so we can cuddle the grandchildren, and pick them up. It will be so lovely to see them again."
'Grandma' Babb, 70
"We wouldn’t do terribly well if we got it, I don’t think, so I think it’s best to be cautious. If it was just about us, we wouldn’t be bored, but it’s just missing the family, and in particular Raffy, because she’s at a magical age where every week makes a difference. We’ve had two remote grandchildren birthdays so far in lockdown, Charlie and Georgia, and made photo walls full of their pictures with bunting and balloons.
"I think you have to be a bit stoic, because you don’t know how long this is going to go on. Maybe it’s our generation, you fill the time with other ways of keeping close, like sending them parcels. I’ve got little Raffy stations around the house, I’ve got her reading chair with the teddy on it and some books sitting next to it. And I’ve got another teddy and his cot in the lounge. They’re what I call my Raffy areas. That’s how we deal with it really. We’re being sensible, because we have to think of the bigger picture."