Grandma, Yeh-Yeh Head Home
Silly Woogins eats farewell ice cream with big family, everybody gets hugs
The funny thing, it turns out, about having your parents visit after a year in near-total isolation is that it is all much more normal feeling than you expect. This is probably because having Kina’s grandparents visit us in New York used to be normal, and the year we’ve just lived through (and continue to live through, in some ways) is the momentous part. The momentousness included weekly family Zoom calls conducted from our family’s four respective living rooms. The momentousness included three (maybe four, hard to say) of the eight people in my close family catching and surviving Covid. The momentousness included my barely seeing one of my siblings—who lives directly downstairs from me—and even more rarely seeing the other sibling—who nonetheless lives in Brooklyn. The momentousness included both of my parents getting extraordinarily effective vaccines that were initially designed within days of the sequencing of the virus that causes COVID-19, and then one sibling, and the other, and me.
And so, at the end of that moment, we found ourselves all sitting on a bench eating ice cream together, after a long weekend of extreme grandparental contact with Kina. The faces I’d seen on our Zoom calls were all more relaxed and happy, and Kina’s Yeh-Yeh was jogging around after her on the sidewalk—turns out he’s in better shape than I am now. We all had several opportunities to soak up some hugs and plan for summer, and it felt like a coda to the terrors. We were lucky to make it through, the eight of us, and we never said a word about it, but it was in the air.
On Saturday, we took my parents out for noodles at our favorite restaurant in Chinatown, and we covered the table with roast meats, dim sum, and soups. I watched them silently devour the first really great Chinese food they’d had in over a year (sorry, Northern Virginia), recognizing that this was a meal I’ve been meaning to order for them for a long time. We drank tea and made jokes as Kina ran off to the playground next to our outdoor table. Cars drove by and a table full of old folks next to us drained a bottle of cognac. It all felt, again, momentous in a fashion, but it mostly felt normal.
And the normal, in this case, is finally the nice sort of normal. I recommend it.