From UUCW Member Lynn Kapitan
Without her physical school to go to or neighborhood friends to play with, the pandemic upended my bubbly, outgoing granddaughter Lynn’s social world. While her mother juggled a full-time job, her baby brother’s childcare, and her own remote schooling, Lynn turned to me for contact. She would dial me up on zoom and arrange a group of stuffed animals in a semi-circle, placing me (on the computer screen) in the center – and then conduct a tea party. Or sneak her away with her mother’s phone to call me up at random times. We would talk and play, sometimes furtively until the missing phone would be discovered. Gradually, I realized that she was changing me, out of sheer necessity, into a “best friend” to occupy a missing human space in her inner life. Thanks to the pandemic, I was becoming a different kind of grandmother than any I have ever known in my own life. Woven into the daily rhythms, now, of her family life, the configuration of my own life has changed, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
The wonder of it, for me, is what I have gained in exchange for the time, space, and personal independence I’ve given up to be there for Lynn and help her thrive through this awful time. I am learning how to see a way safely through the pandemic through the eyes and lively mind of an 8-to-9-year-old child. It’s a kaleidoscope of unending questions, unexplainable losses, and intense joy. It is precious to me. And I am very grateful.