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Hope on the Horizon 

click to enlarge Alison's parents and kids on a hike in New York during pre-pandemic times - COURTESY OF BARB KOREIN
  • Courtesy of Barb Korein
  • Alison's parents and kids on a hike in New York during pre-pandemic times

Late last month, I received a text message I wasn't expecting that gave me a burst of joy and hope.

"We have been vaccinated!" my dad wrote in our family group chat. "In the just in case waiting room now. All good!"

My parents are in their late sixties and live in New York — where those 65 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. But the last I'd heard, they hadn't managed to snag an appointment until April, at a racetrack in Queens. What they didn't tell me was that they'd eventually found another vaccination site where they could get jabbed a whole lot earlier. Hence my dad's surprise text.

The last time I saw my mom and dad was last summer; they came to visit us in Vermont for a few days when the coronavirus numbers were low. The stretch of time since then has been the longest I've gone without seeing them in my entire life, and also the longest my kids have gone without seeing their grandparents. The announcement that they'd received their first dose of vaccine was the shot in the arm I needed to get through the rest of this long and lonely winter. It's still likely months before we'll see them again, but it feels like progress.

In this issue, Burlington grandmother of seven Thea Lewis writes about how she's stayed connected to her grandchildren — ranging in age from 5 months to 21 years — during this time, from bonding over Hamilton via Zoom to gifting them with books and toys she would have liked as a kid. Read her essay, "A Grand Challenge."

February means Valentine's Day, and in "Mealtime," Astrid Hedbor Lague shares a recipe for decadent ganache tartlets that sound to me like the perfect way to celebrate. And in "Art Lessons," Emily Jacobs writes about how to make a sentimental still life for a loved one. (It would make a great grandparent gift.)

In "Growing Up Green," Meredith Bay-Tyack writes about the importance of seeing the abundance in our daily lives. I'll be honest: These days, it feels hard to fully embrace that mindset. But as the weeks go on, and more and more people get vaccinated, perhaps it will become a little bit easier.

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