Ramona on Corona: Adventures In Virtual Grandparenting

Ramona cartoon

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

Today, for my Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here!), I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way.

If you’re new to this series: Here’s parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Read on.

5:53 a.m. I’m up. You? I often wake two or three times a night, navigate my way to the bathroom, eyes half-closed, palming the wall in the blue half-light of a nightlight. After my third trip, I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I knew it was corona shpilkes (Yiddish for anxiety) in my stomach and pandemic panic making my heart race. Why can I still not process that what is going on here and all over our planet is real? You’d think 66 days in my house would be enough to convince me.

I go to the dump with K. on special occasions. I went on my birthday last month. And on Mother’s Day. But other than that I do not get out much. Not that I went clubbing every Saturday after 10 p.m., but we miss seeing our friends, meeting at a favorite restaurant, sharing a family-sized Caesar salad. Now it’s pretty much a choice between Wolf Blitzer or Rachel Maddow, the crossword puzzle or a game of Monopoly, Scrabble or Go Fish — depending on our I.Q. any given day.

I don’t even need a wardrobe anymore. I may as well edit my clothes down to sweats and tee shirts and give all my “other people” clothes away. I don’t mean hand-me-downs. I mean clothes I wear for other people. Don’t we all do that?

In addition, I confess half my clothes no longer fit me. I haven’t worn a belt or anything with buttons since menopause. I’m an Eileen Fisher girl. Tents. I wear tents. I long ago abandoned the quest to be thin. I will never be thin and I long ago gave up the notion I would one day walk down the street wearing over-sized sunglasses and be mistaken for Jackie O.

I hope you and yours are well and sheltering in place like me and mine. Our youngest daughter is on the west coast, thousands of miles away because that’s what millenials do to their parents on the east coast. Our oldest daughter is here albeit, hundreds of miles from us, with her husband and our two young, precious, adorable, whip-smart, incomparable granddaughters.

What a challenge they face daily in this crisis, managing the kids 24/7! Thank goodness they have things with which they can distract and divert them, unlike cave parents who could only say, “Go outside and play with a rock.” And on rainy days, “Stay inside and play with a rock.”

There were no cave nannies. So imagine being in the cave all day with the kids during a pandemic — no TV, no videos, no transformers, no Legos, no Play-Doh, no Frozen dolls, books, puzzles, costumes. No Frozen anything! Yikes!

It was raining yesterday so my son-in-law took the girls for a drive in the car, just to get them out of the house. He drove a couple of miles down the road and parked on a deserted street. My daughter had packed a picnic lunch for them while she stayed home to thaw dinner. He called GaGa and Gramps and invited us along virtually on FaceTime.

It was chaos in the car, the preschooler at the steering wheel, honking the horn, sending window wipers swishing, the radio blasting music at high volume, the toddler shoeless, on the floor in front, a mushed banana in her hand as she decorated the dashboard with it, their dad scrunched in the back seat ‘steering’ his iPhone so we could see them. Part-ty!

K. and I were glued to the screen, transfixed by the sight of our two happy little girls, all joy and innocence in the midst of a catastrophe we can only hope they won’t remember.

Life goes on.

Pam Goldman is a writer, therapist, wife, mother and (young) grandmother. Her work has been published in The New York Times and VIVA Magazine. She is completing her first book, titled LEFT.

This originally appeared on Medium.com