There is some confusion about what we can and can't do unmasked, how we should or shouldn't behave in close-together spaces. That confusion gets mixed in with social anxiety. As we inch toward the full opening of a post-pandemic world, a lot of us are nervous about how we'll navigate our former social lives. Going unmasked to a neighbor's outdoor barbecue party may be allowed (if you're vaccinated) but many of us are no longer used to socializing in groups larger than two people.
What it means is that a lot of us are tiptoeing into the re-opening world. But there's one place where we're jumping right in: We are visiting our children in person and getting hugs from our grown kids and grandkids. The Instagram and media photos I've seen of parents reuniting with children or grandchildren exude the simple pleasure of a warm hug.
For those of us who live far from our grown kids and grandkids, the hugs have been slower to arrive but they're coming. We're going to get them. A lot has changed since I wrote this post in March when public health experts warned against air travel.
Paterfamilias and I take off on an airplane in a few weeks. We're vaccinated so we're no longer worried about the perils of catching Covid on the flight or at the airport. Our destination: Our daughter's house. Our expectation: XOXOXO non-stop plus the joy of watching a granddaughter graduate from high school--outdoors with distanced seating in pods. (We're not totally back-to-normal yet.)
All hail vaccinations. It's making what seemed impossible last summer (and even two months ago) possible and probable.
How do we "old folks" feel about these hugfests? The consensus was captured in this reporting from a Washington Post story:
Among the many who have endured long separations, the first highly anticipated reunions are finally taking place. For grandparents in particular, the need to guard against covid-19 has been weighed against the yearning to be close to children and grandchildren, and an acute awareness of the time being lost. But now, with the arrival of vaccines, dates are circled on calendars, flights are booked, plans are made.
After picking up his young children from an overnight visit with their grandmother--a visit delayed by a year due to Covid--a father told the reporter:
“It was like old times — they didn’t want to come home. Things are starting to feel really different from how it’s been, finally, and I’m really happy about that.”