COVID has taken away an endless list of things from us all. Each of us has endured so much. But COVID has given me something in exchange for the lost time. It has given me my five grandchildren. 
Four of these children, ages 5 to 12 live in one small house in Rhode Island. Their father works from a tiny office they have built in a shed. Their mother struggles to keep school going for four different grades. The dining room’s decorations are huge alphabet letters for the 5-year old, and the table must be cleared of schoolwork each day in order to have lunch.
The other grandchild is in Vermont where his parents work remotely, and he is remote-schooled from Philadelphia. There are no other children, but he does have the wide outdoors and his cats for company.
Each day, one of these children will call me on FaceTime as predictable as clockwork. On break from Zoom school? Well, let’s call “Gogo.” They are not yet teenagers. Grandmothers work well into their lives.
And, here is what I have learned: How to do morning flow yoga following the kindergarten plan. “I bet you can’t do wheel, Gogo”; Nathan Hale was hanged for being a traitor but Benedict Arnold died in England from dropsy; I have had the whole story of Mr. Arnold’s betrayal read to me; I have watched a monster lego truck be built and an elf village constructed from start to finish by all four of them working on their assigned parts; I have played the piano while one sang “Auld Lang Syne,” the piano in Bowdoinham, the singer in Jamestown;  I have played checkers; I have been tested on my recognition of bird calls and in turn, have tested her on flash cards of birds ranging from American crow to “male cardinal and pay attention to the beak color;“  I have hovered over “Beyblade” stadiums while a battle between spinning tops raged below; I have been carried around in their pockets, on a borrowed phone from their mother; I have been dropped in the mud. “Oops, sorry.”
In the Vermont  household, I have learned to play Minecraft and even have my own code name. I have read six full novels to this 12-year old while he draws, and together we have written to the author of one. She has written back to this child, much to his delight. “I heard from a famous author!” 
I am absolutely sure, close as I am to my grandchildren, that this gift of time would not have happened in another world. Soccer practice, uninterrupted school, friends, trips to the dentist, endless occurrences would have filled their days, as it should be. And the loss is great.
But, there is a gain for me. Life will go back to normal but for the six of us (5 + one 78 year old) life has been given a gift of adventure where secrets have been whispered, tears have been shed, laughter has lightened the day. The gift of time reimagined.
— Special to the Telegram

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