Me and Pops

Like many people, I’ve been isolated since early March. I live with my grandfather and, when everything first started, we were annoying each other a lot. Lately, as we’ve settled into the routines and rhythms of isolation, I’ve begun to cherish this time we’re spending together.

My grandfather and I have a special bond. He’s my paternal grandfather, and I moved in with him during my third year of college. I’ve been living with him ever since, minus a year I spent in Texas.

Our personalities are very different. My grandfather is stoic, doesn’t like to show emotions much. I, on the other hand, am a pretty emotional person. My grandfather is very rational – he’s a science professor. Me? I’m a journalism graduate, a writer, and someone who loves art and music.

Really, we couldn’t be more different. This has led to tension at times, often because I want to talk about things to process my emotions. Usually, he just wants to put things behind him and move on.

Our daily walks

Early on during isolation, we began to argue. That’s when I realized I was being too self-absorbed. Why not make the best of this time we have, where we’re forced to be together? He just turned seventy-six years old, so he’s high risk if he catches the virus.

Because of that, we’ve been very cautious. We both always wear a mask when living the house and, really, we haven’t left the house much at all.

My grandfather (whom I call “Pops”) is also a little OCD. He’s very clean and can be strict about rules around the house. Sometimes it annoys me, but I’ve done my best to respect his rules. If they’re important to him, then they should be important to me, too.

About two weeks ago, we started taking daily walks together. The exercise is putting us in a better mood, and it has given us a chance to bond. My grandfather identifies trees and birds in the neighborhood for me. He’s a gardener and biology professor, after all.

The blessings of family

The toughest part of this pandemic for me so far has been not being able to see Rachel. When everything first started, I had a make a tough choice: go to Rachel’s place in the city, or stay with Pops? No matter who I went with, I knew it was likely I’d be stuck with them until things were safe.

It was not an easy choice. Rachel is also high risk because of some health conditions, and she has been isolated in Philly with her roommate, whom she doesn’t interact with much.

When the pandemic is over, I want to start a life with Rachel – perhaps start our own family and begin living together. In the meantime, I’m cherishing the moments with Pops. He’s in good health – perhaps healthier than me – but he won’t be around forever.

I love my Pops and I want to remember this time we had together, where we stayed safe, took care of each other, and enjoyed the blessings of family.

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