I didn’t feel weepy the first time I hugged my two granddaughters postvaccination. What I felt instead was a softening, a physical relief, a deep sense that things could be normal again, as I sank down to the floor with the 2-year-old and let her nestle into my lap. This relief, I thought, is what a vaccine has given me.
For months, our interactions had been delimited by fear—fear on the part of my daughter and son-in-law that they might infect me or my husband, fear on our part of somehow putting one of our beloved children or grandchildren at risk.
Unlike many grandparents, though, we were lucky enough to be able to see our granddaughters, nearly 3 and five and a half years old, almost every weekend over the past few months. We stayed outdoors whenever we met up, usually in our neighborhood, in Manhattan, or theirs, in Brooklyn. We kept our masks on and spent our time at playgrounds, which was fun for the girls but, I’ve got to admit, a bit tedious for the grown-ups after a while.