I rarely catch colds – maybe once every few years or so. So naturally, I came down with one a week before we were scheduled go visit our new granddaughter. I blame my son for jinxing me.

“Be sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C,” he said in a phone conversation a few weeks earlier. “You don’t want to get sick right before you come to see the baby.”

What made him even think of this was the fact that his brother-in-law had been planning to visit them, but changed his plans after coming down with a cold. This was fine for an uncle who lived nearby and could drive over anytime. But not for grandparents who lived 1,200 miles away and had to book a flight to get there.

As soon as I started to feel some symptoms, I went out and bought Vitamin C tablets, oranges, strawberries, orange juice, cough and cold medicine, chicken soup ingredients, and anything else I could think of to lessen the severity and shorten the duration of a cold.

It worked to some degree, but I wasn’t totally over it by the time we left home, so our first stop after our plane landed was a drugstore where I bought a box of surgical-style masks – the kind that cover your nose and mouth, and claim to be over 99% effective in stopping germs – because the last thing I wanted was for the baby to get sick. And the second-last thing I’d want was to be responsible.

The third-to-the-last thing I’d have wanted, of course, would have been for the kids to say, “Sorry, Mom, we don’t want you around the baby. Come back when you’re 100% healthy.” That would have broken my heart, but I’d have understood and respected their wishes. Fortunately, that never happened, and we were able to spend a long and wonderful weekend holding, hugging, and getting to know our new grandchild.

I didn’t wear masks all weekend long – just when I was holding the baby or was within breathing distance of her. Which, of course, was every chance I got.

I’m not crazy about the fact that the very first photos of us together feature me with a surgical mask covering half my face, but that was a small price to pay for our time together. Besides, when I look back at the photos years from now, I probably won’t even notice the mask. Or myself, for that matter. Instead, my focus and my total attention will be on the sweet little angel I’m holding in my arms.

I’m over my cold now, even though the temperature was 4 degrees below zero when we left town to return home, and I was shivering all the way to the airport. Still, I was warmed by thoughts of the baby and the wonderful visit we had just enjoyed. I’m already looking forward to the next one. Just the thought of it puts a smile on face – a smile no mask could hide.

March 1, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019

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