Covid-19 Has Given Grandparents Skin Hunger


This pandemic is tough. (Understatement alert!) Of course, it’s certainly tougher for people who have suffered from the virus and families who have lost a loved one due to Covid. We have also endured the loss of physical connections with people we love.

We are and have been experiencing skin hunger. The ability to kiss the cherubic cheeks of our hard earned little ones.

All the iterations of this stupid virus have interrupted visits with children and grandchildren. Since they live 600+ miles away it makes access more difficult. It’s a negotiation with my son and daughter-in-law as to when I’m able to spend time with them.

They are hyper-vigilant about keeping their six-year-old and four-year-old safe. Given their ages, Maya and Ru are too young to be vaccinated against Covid-19, unlike their parents and grandparents. I’m truly grateful for Zoom and FaceTime, but I miss their touch. 

My son, however, came up with a cool way for me to interact with my grandchildren. He bought me a Nintendo Switch game system for my birthday. Animal Crossings: New Horizons video game accompanied the Switch in my birthday stocking.

Of all the birthday gifts I’ve received over the years this was one of the most unusual. I’ve not ever been a video game player. My son and his Chicagoland family have been playing Animal Crossings since the onset of the pandemic. 

For the uninitiated (and count me as one of those previously uninitiated), the purchasers of this $55 game create their own island paradise. It is unbelievably relaxing and absorbing. An hour can vanish as I plan the position of a bridge or negotiate the price of turnips (turnips are comparable to stocks).

An island owner can also visit the islands of friends and family. And therein lies the real reason for my obsession with this game. My granddaughter and I have spent hours together visiting each other’s islands.

Liz visiting Maya’s island – admiring a large fish Maya caught.

Maya’s island is called Pearitucci. How did she arrive at that name? Pear because there is a pear orchard on her island; tucci because her brother likes the sound of the word. I christened my island Aumaru – the first letters of each of my grandchildren’s names (Austin, Maya, and Ru). It certainly is not a replacement for proximity to my peeps, but it allows me to play with them on a level they enjoy.

I’ve just gotten permission to visit my favorite island – Chicago. Yes, I know it’s only fronted on one side by water. I’m viewing it as an island paradise, and I’m looking forward to hanging with my favorite inhabitants. I’m bringing up my Switch so we can play in person, sitting right next to each other, skin to skin.

Liz’s grandchildren Maya and Ru

When was the last time you hugged your grandchildren freely? Have you found alternative ways to communicate with them? What do you think about videogaming with the grands?



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