‘I’m so excited to see my grandkids’: The families who can finally see their loved ones again

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For Jane Caddick, the most difficult part of lockdown has been all the time spent away from her grandkids.

“My daughter and her husband and my grandson live in Bassaleg, about a mile and a half away, and my son lives in Blackwood with his wife, which is that bit further away,” Jane, 68, from Newport explained.

“It is difficult not being able to see everybody. My son has two children and his wife is expecting at the moment.

“We are missing all our grandchildren, but moaning and groaning is not going to change anything. I am a pragmatic person and I can’t change what I don’t have the power to. It is hard, but it will change.”

Thankfully for Jane, and thousands of others around the country, the announcement of new ‘social bubbles’ in Wales mean they will finally be allowed long-awaited family visits.

From next week, two households will be able to join together as one ‘bubble’ household in Wales, for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.

The new measure was announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford on Monday, and will mean that two households of any size can join together and spend time indoors.

However, if any members of the extended household develop symptoms, all members of both households which have joined together must self-isolate, even if they are not from the same household as the person who has developed symptoms.

The Welsh Government said it had developed the rule after looking at other countries which have used the same concept, such as New Zealand.

For thousands of people across Wales, it will mean an end to the agonising wait to visit loved ones since lockdown restrictions came into effect in March.

Being separated from family and friends has created hardship for many individuals and families, and while some face easier choices as to which households to link up with, others have more difficult decisions ahead.

“We are lucky because my son lives near his wife’s in-laws, so they’re going to bubble with them while we meet my daughter,” Jane Caddick explained.

“My grandson Zachary is seven and had his head in his hands this morning saying ‘now grandma can cwtch me she’s never going to let go’ – and it might be true!

“We all get on very well with the different in-laws, so although we can’t cwtch everyone we know they will get cwtches off people that love them as much as we do.”

“It also means we’ll be able to help them out more. My daughter is a nurse and my son-in-law works from home and has a lot of conference calls. Being there a couple of mornings a week means we will be able to look after our grandchild and give him the space he needs to focus on his work more easily.”

For Irene Edwards, from St Mellons, lockdown has been “emotional turmoil.”

Irene, 57, has been unable to see her precious grandchildren for three months, except through the garden window.

“Jacob is ten and has Asbergers and ADHD, and Joseph is three and has autism,” she said.

“He was non-verbal but has started saying little bits during lockdown, which is great.”

“I did go and see them and just wave from outside in the garden, but Joseph doesn’t understand why he can’t cuddle me and gets upset and starts screaming and crying. So I just couldn’t do it to them.”

“It’s been emotional turmoil. It’s been so hard for everyone. I’m so looking forward to seeing them.

“I have toys under the stairs that haven’t been touched in months. Kids want to be on your lap with toys, puzzles and all that.”



Irene Edwards, from St Mellons, Cardiff, who hasn’t seen her grandchildren properly since lockdown started in March and is excited to be able to see them next week

“We’ll definitely book and go to the farm, go to the park, all the usual little things that we took for granted so much. We’ll try to make it as normal as possible.

“My son and his wife live in Hereford and I’ve got a new granddaughter Dotty there who was born on April 7, who I’ve never met.

“I might not be able to hold her or squeeze her cheeks yet but at least I will be able to see her.”

Thirty-year-old Claire Kotecha lives in Cwmbran and is with her mum who is currently still shielding, as she is in the vulnerable category.

“It’s been a very long lockdown for us. Because my mum is 67 and shielding we haven’t been able to go out at all, we’ve had to have friends do our shopping, all of those things.

“Mainly it’s been the fact that I haven’t seen my twin sister Lynette or my nephew Elijah since the end of February.

“I work as a lecturer quite near them, so ordinarily we’d always be meeting up and seeing each other.

“We have obviously been on FaceTime, but it’s not the same. Elijah is only two, so he doesn’t really understand it – he gets bored and wants to run around instead!”



Claire Kotecha holding her nephew Elijah, her twin sister Lynette and their mother Urmilaben

She added: “It’s been quite lonely at times. We went back to work on June 15, but I’ve not been able to because of my mum shielding. So I feel a bit behind in not being able to see my family or anything.”

“We’re hoping now that the bubble rule is coming in that they’ll come and stay with us.

“Elijah asked me recently ‘when can I come to your house? Will it be Christmas?’. He thinks he has done something wrong, he doesn’t understand why he can’t see his aunt.”

“It’s scary that restrictions are easing, we are definitely scared of a possible second wave, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

John Sampson is a 38-year-old mature student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

He is living in student halls in Grangetown and has been unable to see his daughter or partner since lockdown.

“As I am sure you can imagine, being stuck in a room that is probably no bigger than a cell, about 12 metres squared, for the past three months has not exactly been ideal for my mental health,” he said.

“As a parent and a student I was originally quite concerned when the Covid-19 situation came to light. My five-year-old daughter lives with my ex-wife and her partner, who works in the NHS, so the possibility of unknowingly being exposed to the virus has always been foremost in my mind.”



John Sampson, 38, lives in Grangetown and hasn’t been able to see his partner or his daughter properly since lockdown

He added: “Due to a case of what was most likely the common cold, she had to self isolate for 14 days just prior to the lockdown being implemented, and as such I have only recently last week been able to actually see my daughter for the first time since late February/early March.

“My partner Laura lives on the other side of Cardiff and we’ve been unable to see each other since the lockdown started.

“Being able to actually go and see my daughter properly rather than just a swift visit on the way to the supermarket, and being able to go and see my partner, are in all honesty the two things I am most looking forward to.

“Human beings are absolutely not made for isolation, we’re very social creatures, and while I 100% back the lockdown measures, I must admit I can’t wait to be able to hug my kid and hug my partner again as soon as I am able to do so!”



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