I must admit that getting to see my two grandchildren does more for my heart and soul than just about anything, even chocolate. I love seeing their little personalities grow and develop. They have these new experiences and find joy and happiness as they enjoy this amazing planet. Once, they burst into cheers when they saw ice cream in the freezer. (And yes, my daughter reminds me that I limited how much ice cream they ate years ago.) The first time that my oldest granddaughter said, “I love you, Grandpa John!” will rank as one of my purest and happiest experiences, right up there with when my wife said “yes.” Unfortunately, they live in Utah.
Recently, their parents planned to bring them north to Alaska by plane. We all read the CDC and the State of Alaska rules for travel in great detail. My wife and I really wanted to see those kids, but we knew that they would have to follow the rules with exactness, so we helped them plan things out.
My daughter works in the ICU in Salt Lake City and is routinely exposed to COVID-19 patients, so waiting for her COVID-19 test results made us nervous. What would happen if she or one of the kids tested positive? Would we not be able to see them? A continued separation would be sad and challenging to endure. I even got myself tested to ensure that I would not infect them.
After some anxious waiting, everyone tested negative, and their travel plans came together. They still needed to arrive at the airport early and provide airline personnel with their negative results and wear their masks. Even when they came to Alaska, they had to show the proper authorities that they did not have the virus before we could pick them up.
How happy was that reunion with our amazing grandchildren and our wonderful daughter and son-in-law? Words cannot do justice to the joy I felt, for I had not seen them in almost a year. I wanted to hold them a little longer and not let go, hoping that somehow I could convey my love in that long hug.
Air travel to Alaska requires careful adherence to regulations and COVID testing. Thinking of my granddaughter getting her nose swabbed made my heart ache a little. But in light of our joyful reunion at the airport, the sacrifice seemed small.