Ask Amy: New moms are left lonely when family won’t fly
Dear Amy: I am a new mom with two 1-year-old babies.
My wife and I love being moms, but I am pretty heartsick that due to the pandemic, none of my family members have met our fast-growing babies in person.
For the first year, I took this in stride and assumed that visits would be possible in 2021 — after vaccinations.
We are an eight-hour flight away from our family, and driving is not possible.
I don’t feel comfortable taking our unmasked babies on a long flight (safety-wise).
However, my family members are either unwilling to vaccinate, or are vaccinated, but with no plans to visit.
I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to ask my unvaccinated relatives to visit, due to the risk to themselves, our babies, and others.
I’ve expressed how sad this makes me to my mom and brother, but they still have no plans to visit, and my mom is still not planning to get vaccinated.
Aside from working to accept that our babies will not meet any of my family for likely another year or so, is there anything else I can do?
We already talk via video, but it isn’t the same.
I’m fairly heartbroken about this, even though I recognize how this is a small thing to handle compared to what some have suffered in this pandemic.
– On a Distant Island
Dear Distant: Some people would easily and quickly jump on a plane and fly eight hours just to smell the tops of your babies’ heads. Others simply cannot seem to “get there,” for a variety of reasons.
I dealt with this sadness myself, living in England as a new – and very lonely – mom. None of my child’s grandparents could manage the transatlantic travel to see us.
The pandemic has amplified everyone’s travel anxieties, including yours.
Yes, I think you will have to accept that your family members might not meet your babies until you and your wife can travel with them. I sense that you feel rejected, but I would caution you to understand that others’ bond and connection to your children will likely never match yours. Understand, too, that this is your family members’ loss – but they just don’t know it.
I hope you will continue to foster connections via video and photos, and plan for your own travel when you can manage it.
Two toddlers on a long flight: now that’s an adventure in mom-ing!
Dear Amy: My husband died very suddenly a few months ago of COVID.
This was a second marriage, as my first husband died young, of cancer.
When I reach out to my sister, she gives me advice about how to deal with it. I know she means well, but she really has no idea what she is talking about.
Now that things have opened up due to vaccines, she has traveled to Hawaii and NYC, rather than coming to see me and tend to my grief.
I'm really hurt by her neglect and when I express this to her, she says that she will be there for me "when I get my anger under control.”
I want to have a relationship with her, but I don't think it should be all on me.
Dear Grieving: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your losses. To be widowed twice – and to lose your loved-one so suddenly of this merciless disease — I cannot even imagine.
I say feel your anger as much as you need to. Do not suppress it in order to appease your selfish sister. You should not feel forced to move through this world according to anyone else’s metric. Not now, anyway.
I urge you to find a grief group, either locally in-person, or virtually, and connect with others who can support and affirm your process.
There is a very active support group on Facebook for people who have lost loved-ones to COVID: “Covid-19 Loss Support for Family & Friends.” I hope you will join it. The participants are extremely honest and supportive of one another.
Dear Amy: I was really miffed by your response to “Miffed Manager,” who complained because an employee didn’t “ask her permission” to take time off.
Employees don’t need “permission” to take the time off they are rightfully entitled to.
Dear Miffed!: Many readers responded similarly. I interpreted this question as having to do with receiving adequate advance notice of PTO (paid time off), but you are correct – this manager did focus on “permission,” and I just missed it.
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.