Keep Those Holiday Letters Coming

0:00 A sleeping grandchild is always a good gift. By Robin Jovanovich Time was that when those lengthy, typed letters fell out of Christmas and […]

Published January 17, 2023 12:43 AM
4 min read


A sleeping grandchild is always a good gift.

By Robin Jovanovich

Time was that when those lengthy, typed letters fell out of Christmas and Hannukah cards, they mostly went straight to recycling.

But not this season. After nearly three years of the pandemic and the untimely loss of far too many people I cared about, I am all ears, honestly. I applaud all of those with educational pedigrees as lengthy as the Froegers’ of “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” fame, as well as their children and grandchildren who chose to volunteer in unlivable communities and subsist on a diet of roots. Cheers to all of you who took the whole family — safely — to parts of the world that are still untamed.

The way things are going, my future as an armchair traveler is pre-ordained. If my husband can’t go with me, I’m not going there. I’m glad to have the world come to us.

Meanwhile, I hope you won’t mind hearing more about the year we had, especially the last two months. Just think of us as the Griswold family.

We traveled by car and by ambulance to White Plains Hospital. Hats off to the team at the Port Chester-Rye-Rye Brook EMS. They have no trouble putting in an IV and avoiding the potholes on I-287. (I prefer the North Street route.)

We looked forward to the mostly annual pre-Christmas visit of old friends. They once stayed for almost two weeks — and we invited them back! This year, three days after they arrived, my husband looked unwell. We encouraged him to get a Covid test. It came back positive. We cancelled the party we were hosting that weekend. I offered to move with my sick husband to our son’s house so our friends could stay and see all their other friends and go to the concert they help sponsor at Rye Presbyterian Church. They wisely took the first flight back to California. I was diagnosed with Covid the next day. We missed the concert, all the gatherings with friends.

That same week, our oldest friend died unexpectedly. The funeral was the following week. I bought my plane ticket to San Diego. The day before I was to leave, I came down with the flu, the really crummy flu. So much for vaccinations and flu shots.

By Christmas Eve —‚ with our whole family! — I was well enough to set the table and assemble our traditional dinner, with special thanks to Crisfield’s, and everyone stayed late to open and enjoy the presents. Our grandchildren’s new puppy, Scarlett, was among the guests. She enjoyed her first Christmas, proudly carrying around the discarded wrapping paper, stealing the other dog’s toys, and marking pretty much every corner of our kitchen and family room.

Right before New Year’s, we encouraged our son and daughter-in-law to leave the children, who are 6 and approaching 9, if not the puppy, with us and go off for a few days. They gratefully did.

When they called to see how things were going the first night, I didn’t want to alarm them by telling them that “Tats” was in the ER. I had everything under control (if that means letting the kids stay up to all hours and behave like maniacs). I’m proud of them, because when I told them they didn’t rush home from their wonderful retreat in Connecticut.

Each school day, a helper arrived to get the kids out of the house in a timely manner. It took two of us! I never had girls, so how was I to know it took over ten minutes to comb and fashion my granddaughter’s hair (even though it’s exactly like mine). And it had been ages since I’d tied a boy’s tie. I called my husband under duress (he was in a hospital room by that time). He suggested I Google how to tie a tie. I hung up. No tie that day at Resurrection. The teacher understood.

I actually made my grandson sit down and do his homework right after picking him up from school, which was right after I’d made an in-and-out food delivery to my husband at the hospital. (Thank you valet parking people, who took out their head phones when I asked them to and instructed them that I would be back in 20 minutes flat, “so not to park the car far away under any circumstances”.)

It rained most every afternoon, but the day it didn’t I took the kids to Rye Town Park and let them run. On the way back to the car, they asked if they could buy food for the ducks. Of course, I said. But I discovered I’d left my change purse at home. I tried jiggling the machine and had them searching the ground in case someone had dropped a quarter. I don’t know how they felt about having a grandmother who doesn’t have a quarter and is jiggling machines in search of one. I try to keep up appearances.

That night, their last night, I let my grandson read until he fell asleep in my bed. At 3 that morning I was awakened by my granddaughter who wanted to sleep with us, too. A few minutes later, my grandson was sick all over the bed, the entire room, before leaving a trail to his room.

I did laundry all day. A shout out to Carpet Trends who got me a professional rug cleaner able to remove the pizza and blueberry stains. My grandson and I may have watched a little too much television that day, but when the parents arrived to pick him up, he turned to me and said, “Mimi, it was a pretty great four-and-a-half days.”

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