Dear Amy: My wife and I have been self-isolating and practicing social distancing. We both really miss our 3-year-old grandson.
I am 71 and in relatively good health, although I do have a couple of “underlying conditions” that put me in a higher risk group, so I am holding firm about keeping my distance from other people, including my children and grandson.
The problem is, my wife is 64 and believes that she is not at high risk and “has never been sick.” She wants to resume babysitting our grandson. Unfortunately, this has become a contentious issue between us.
While I would love to have our grandson stay with us, doing so would put us all at additional risk.
I have suggested that I would not want her poor judgment to risk my well-being, and offered as an alternative for her to stay with my daughter’s family so she could spend time with our grandson without compromising my safety.
So far, she has declined this alternative, but seems to become more depressed every day. Her negativity is toxic to us both.
I would appreciate your thoughts.
Amy says: Your “never-been-sick” wife could be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 (so could you). If so, her desire to be with your grandson at either house could expose the little guy — and his family — to the virus.
I raise this possibility because you should both be tested and get the go-ahead from your doctor before ending your exile. Your grandson’s family should also be tested before mingling with you.
We are all lonely. We all want this to end. But each household should adjust their standards and behavior to the needs and risks of their most vulnerable family member. In your household, that’s you.
Your wife has legitimate needs, too, and if her depression seems not to be lifting, or is worsening, please reach out to your family doctor for a referral to a therapist.
Support groups also offer free, nonjudgmental support and guidance during this challenging time. Social media is the most wide-reaching way to connect. Search “coronavirus support groups” on Facebook and click on the “groups” tab at the top of the page. There are many groups devoted to sharing information in your state.
Wedding gift dilemma
Dear Amy: With great disappointment, our nephew has canceled his wedding reception next month due to COVID-19. He will still tie the knot as scheduled, with only parents and siblings present.
The reception for family and friends is now scheduled for June of next year.
Our families would like to know when to send wedding gifts. Sending them now would honor the event, let them know we are thinking of them, and celebrate their union with more immediacy. If we wait until their reception next year, perhaps the thought of receiving gifts might be more celebratory for the couple.
They don’t need anything, but we love them and want to show our support the best way we can.
Amy says: When it comes to wedding etiquette, the pandemic seems to have opened up an entirely new set of challenges.
There is no one way to respond to a postponed wedding, but the best way is always to anchor to sincerity and kindness.
I suggest you send your gift (along with a warmly written letter) to coincide with their wedding ceremony. You might also want to donate masks or other PPE in their honor to a nearby hospital or nursing home.
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