Holding on to Family Ties

by Rhonda Sittig

September 30, 2020


Does it seem like you could use a rollicking family reunion about now?? My husband Larry and I have boatloads of family on either side and our own four kids and their families flung far and wide. And truly, the thing I would love most is to have them all together at arms’ length to eat and laugh and play and talk together.

But sadly, that’s not happening this year.

We made our initial “Covid Bubble” with my 89-year-old mom and Larry’s 93-year-old dad. They live close and we see them often, pick up their groceries, do doctor visits. And it’s been sweet to have so much time with them.

Every Sunday they come for living-room church. Larry gets donuts, makes coffee and we watch Fullerton Free, of course, and sometimes add a couple other churches—a little Sunday morning church bingeing!—then lunch and talk. It’s turned into the highlight of my week.

And grandkids? They’re not so close by, so we decided to send them a package every week with books, small silly toys, chocolate, a dot-to-dot, some riddles and a note from Grandma. I found that you can print up the postage online and have your postman pick them up. I love FaceTime calls of kids opening surprises!

Sometime in July on a Zoom call with about twenty Bible study friends, I realized only two of us had not seen grandkids in the quarantine. I was forlorn. Poor Larry had to listen to me whine for a week. Finally one morning, I stopped and asked God if it was possible, in His good mercy, if I could see those grandkids. Two days later, our daughter Ani in San Francisco called and said, “Mom, we were thinking we should get together.” “When?” I asked. She answered, “How about we come down tomorrow?” I laughed and cried with thankfulness.

The same week, my son in Ojai called and asked if the three older grand-girls could come down. Eleven-year-old Maryann made a baking list and we baked every day, took evening walks and binged a whole season of Amazing Race. It warmed my Grandma heart.

There’s also been plenty of book reading over FaceTime and letters sent to Mae (who’s learning to read). Jobay designed her birthday cake, with a color-coded diagram and we delivered it to her in Ojai. We’ve watched our Wisconsin grand-girl eat her first cookies and learn to crawl on daily Google photos.

My brother did a few Sundays of “The Grandma Lo Show” for my mom—kids and grandkids and great-grandkids showed up on Zoom to talk and watch slides of Mom over her nine decades. One week he did a “Name That Baby” quiz with slides of her fourteen grand-babies while we guessed who was who!

It’s not been the family reunion I’d hoped for this summer. No summer Grammy Camp, no family trips. But I thank God for the family He has blessed us with and for the ways He has opened doors to keep us close in these days when maintaining family ties is so important and not as easy as we wish it were. God is good.

Rhonda is Grandma to nine grandkids including Jobay (pictured above with her made-to-diagram cake).