Ideas on ways to connect with family during Co-vid

I need help finding creative ideas to connect. I’m getting so depressed because we had to cancel our family vacation this August. We live in Texas, one kid lives in DC and the other in Amsterdam. It’s been 10 months since we’ve been together. I don’t see a chance to see them this Thanksgiving or Christmas. To add to my “grief”, my parents are usually the ultimate Thanksgiving and Christmas Grandparents. They are in a high risk category so I’ve only had outdoor contact, with a mask and 6 ’ apart since March.

I know many families are faced with bigger challenges but I need to get some ideas on how to create a positive, creative approach during these times.

I don’t know what’s your kids’ work/study situation. Many people are working remotely, so it wouldn’t where they are. Your kids, at least the one in DC, could come back, stay isolated for 5 days and then get a covid test before interacting with your and the grandparents.

My girls and their SOs are all going to get tested 3 days before we move into a rental place over xmas. My mother is coming so they do not want to take the chance of infecting their grandmother.

I am intentionally being very careful so I could see my mom on a regular basis. I stay over at my mom’s place regularly. She probably goes to more grocery stores than I do (I get everything delivered).

We’ve watched movies together (online or via Netflix), then discussed them in a group phone call. We also like to play Code Names using horsepaste (add dot com - sounds weird, but works well) to give us more of a group “together” feel.

I don’t know if you can coordinate something like that, but we enjoy it.

The rapid antigen tests are here and/or on the way. Perhaps do a little research and see what’s available in your area?

If you are unfamiliar, these are tests that are less accurate and will only show positive if someone is carrying a high viral load and is infectious. That is, a test that tells us what we REALLY need to know!

Everyone has to weigh risk and benefits and come up with suitable solutions. I think you can figure something out!

I believe that the EU countries are still limiting travel to non-essential workers so none of us can visit without a 2 week quarantine. So for daughter and son in law who live in Amsterdam, they will have to stop working and going to graduate school for 2 weeks after they flew home. I don’t think they would have to quarantine here in Texas but they would have to limit exposure to grandparents. The daughter in DC works remotely but she doesn’t feel comfortable getting on an airplane. She doesn’t have a car so it will be a long haul for us to drive there but that’s probably what we will do.

Thanks for the advice on the testing coming out, I need to research them. I also like the idea of watching a movie or playing a game together.

We’ve gotten together with family on both Discord and Zoom. Discord is nice because you can set up a permanent lounge and post links there that don’t go away. We play games on Steam’s Tabletop simulator, or our favorite - Dominion - has its own website. In fact in some ways it’s more fun to play on line because you can skip all the tiresome setup.

Thinking ahead to Christmas…we always do Secret Santa at our family get together - about 12 of us. Family comes from NYC and sometimes Oregon so I know this year totally might happen. I’m thinking we can still do Secret Santa via Zoom or the like - maybe change it so that all gifts have to be purchased on Amazon or something so they can still be anonymous. And sent to the correct recipient. We could still do the opening and guessing via video. Then we can do this event any day or time around the holidays that works for everyone.

For kids that are in driving distance and working remotely, we have made visits here work by all avoiding exposures for two weeks at home (everyone is super conservative about their activities routinely) and then gathering. It feels like a miracle. When in person visits aren’t possible, additional opportunities to zoom makes a big difference vs. phone calls. Sometimes, I have found smaller zoom calls more conducive to “visit level” conversations; other times it is great to see a group together. I feel for all who are grieving family/friends gathering. It is tough.

We have had the occasional family dinner where we all consume the same ‘menu’ via a Zoom gathering.

We have some family local to us, and so the idea of a shared meal is made easier by one of us cooking and delivering the food to the others ahead of the shared meal.
For those further away, we just plan ahead and agree on a menu to be cooked by each family, or one of us arranges delivery to the other guests, of the same or similar food.

For us it works; we have done it for birthdays and various ‘holidays’ and it helps foster that sense of ‘closeness’

I don’t think it would matter to me what everyone is eating. If you are sharing a meal on Zoom does it really matter if one family is having burgers and one is having enchiladas??? I think that would give more to talk about!

Or to have a dinner theme idea. Like, “let’s Zoom at 6 and for dinner everyone make an Italian meal” - it would be fun then to see what everyone comes up with!

My sister, mom, and I have started a family book club Zoom. It’s fun and we also get a chance to have a prolonged conversation that reassures us that things are going ok with Mom. My parents are 88 and 90 and live by themselves but I think they go out more than we do!

I virtually video cooked together with our son one evening where we each made lasagna from the same recipe. It was very enjoyable. Perhaps families could do virtual cookie bakes?

D1 delivered same food to D2 and myself for my birthday, and we ate together at appointed time.

DH and I Zoom with our grad student DD at least once a week. She does regular Zoom cooking sessions with a friend - each of them chooses a recipe for the other to try. They are sharing their Pandemic Cookbook with family and friends in a Google Doc. We’ve also attended the same virtual theater and live-streamed circus performances with DD, and sometimes with one or more of my sisters. If the crowds aren’t too big, we can greet each other in the chat. The most fun so far, was re-visiting Prague with DD and her BFF on a virtual Plague Doctor Tour through AirBnB.

Happy B-Day @oldfort ! Hope you enjoyed your dinner!

@abasket - thank you, but it happened in April. It was during SIH and nothing was open in NYC.

Happy Belated Birthday @oldfort !

@Xplorenature - I totally get it. We live near DC, with a D and SIL in a midwestern city and S in London. We haven’t seen S since last Christmas. We briefly saw D and SIL when we visited my MIL in July.

We have a standing zoom get together each week. Our family likes to play euchre so after some chat, we play and talk during the game. We actually end up talking with S more that way than we used to!

I get it too and sympathize. My mother is in a facility so I can see her twice a week outdoors, masked, but not sure what will happen when it gets cold. Today is already a little chilly.

Two kids across the country (and one an hour away). One across the country doesn’t drive, and has health conditions so she is feeling afraid to fly (I offered to buy a face shield and Tyvek suit!). This kid is also in a studio and isolated.

I am older with health conditions so they are also afraid of infecting me,

I live in a small one bedroom with one bathroom, which makes any isolation upon arrival impossible. I have thought of renting an airbnb for them. Or of flying to them and renting an airbnb, then meeting them in the park.

It is hard to know how careful to be, tempting to loosen up so as to see each other, and I watch other families who do have kids fly in for a few weeks, but just have to realize everyone’s situation is different.

Zoom helps a lot. I am trying to get one of my faraway kids to do a tai chi class online with me. Basically, though I just try to be available all the time for calls or Zoom.

We all need to do whatever works until we can safely be together. Trying to keep a perspective long term and share that with my kids.

I am not sure that virtual connection is going to do it for me, ultimately, but appreciate any suggestions that come up on here.

Our S and D and their cousins all were using same cookbook and made some delicious oatmeal orange zest cookies in their respective venues around the country. They were amazed and amused how different things looked all along the process, depending on the kitchen and baker. :slight_smile:

My friend Skypes every week with her far flung family—Europe, NM, HI and wherever else they are. We mostly text whomever isn’t here, but our kids aren’t good with chatting with us on phone or video.

For the first time since March, we agreed to have dinner with my mother, aunt & uncle, and my cousin; so 6 of us for Rosh Hashanah Saturday night. All but my mother work outside the home, so we haven’t been together or with her other than to drop off groceries, or to do something at her house for her. We were never there without a mask. Dinner was outside at 2 tables, but at times we might have been closer than 6 feet; made me a bit nervous, but my mother was so happy to be with us. My husband and I had our mask on at any time we were not eating, the others weren’t as good about putting theirs back on, although they did a while after dinner.

I arrived at work today to find out one of our nurses has been sick since Saturday with fever, dry cough, tired, and pain on her right side/chest. She is overweight, diabetic, and I think has asthma. Her rapid test was negative today, so we are waiting for the other results in 3-5 days. Not that any time is a good time to get sick, but I am worried about if any of us turn out to be positive, that I have exposed my mother. :open_mouth: Only time will tell; my hope is no one is positive.