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Raising a Grandchild in Quarantine

By Rob Peterson

For Vicksburg resident Nancy MacKenzie, quarantine has been a unique challenge: She is 69 years old and is raising her eight-year-old “joyful” grandson, David.

To accomplish this feat, MacKenzie includes an “adventure a day” in their regular routine, which consists of packing a picnic lunch and getting away from the house. “We’ve walked the beaches, visited the Bird Sanctuary, and we often use the Vicksburg trail,” she said.

Before quarantine, David would have friends over after school to play in their large yard. It has surprised MacKenzie how well he has adapted to being alone. “He spends time with Legos, playing Minecraft, and watching nature shows,” she said. “He was getting reading assistance at school, but he’s catching up with all the books he’s been reading.”

They regularly go to the schoolyard to play soccer or kickball, but she is cautious with the play structures. MacKenzie, who worked much of her career in the healthcare field, is concerned about how little we know about the coronavirus and how it spreads.

David is also concerned about the virus; he has lived with MacKenzie since he was two years old and has seen more than his share of loss. “He wants to do lots of snuggling,” said MacKenzie.

Fortunately for MacKenzie, she is not alone. “My sister came up from Kentucky to help when I had cataract surgery in March, and afterward she stayed to help with David,” she said. “I can’t explain how grateful I am.” To take care of herself, MacKenzie makes sure to get outside whenever possible and video chats with friends and family.

Together, they are expanding their garden. David read the book “How a Seed Grows” and was inspired to start his own plants indoors. When they were large enough, they took the seedlings to Wiley Farms to finish their growing in the hoop houses there.

It has been a busy time for MacKenzie, but she is adapting in an inspiring way. “The days go by and I’m just so exhausted at the end of them.”

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