Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Connecting during the COVID-19 crisis March 26, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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HOW ARE YOU CONNECTING with family and friends during these difficult days of separation due to COVID-19?

None of this is easy. In these stressful, unprecedented times, more than anything, I want to “just be” with my family and hug them. But I can’t. And I expect most of you are experiencing the same.

This Friday at 11:59 pm, a “Stay at Home” executive order goes into effect in Minnesota, restricting activities outside our homes to “essential” only for a two-week period. The action isn’t unexpected and follows (somewhat) what many other states are already doing.

So we need to get creative in how we connect. Randy and I don’t have smartphones with enough storage space to support video chatting. Suffice to say our Android phones are several years old. Too old. Thus that option was out.

So the other evening the eldest daughter set up a family conference on Zoom. Just the thought of attempting to use this communications tool on my desktop caused me angst. I asked lots of questions beforehand and thought I could manage. But I struggled and didn’t join the family conversation until 18 minutes into the chat. But when I finally did, a cheer erupted that “Mom figured it out!”

To see all of my immediate family, with the exception of the sleeping one-year-old grandson, just made me happy. I didn’t realize how much this meant to me until the moment we were all there online talking to one another.



At one point in the group conversation, I held up a 16-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer the second daughter ordered for me and which arrived Wednesday. I couldn’t find any in Faribault. I told my family I would double-secure all house doors given the value of the product. That garnered laughter. If there was eye-rolling (a family trait), I missed it.

I loved that for a short while we could laugh and talk and feel like we were together as a family. From Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin. I reminded them they are all invited to our house for Easter because, you know, some people think this will all blow over by Easter. (I’m not one of them, nor are they.) Laughter erupted.

In these days of uncertainty and fear and separation from loved ones, I am thankful we can still find moments to laugh.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


20 Responses to “Connecting during the COVID-19 crisis”

  1. Congratulations! It’s something, to be able to connect. 🙂

  2. We have always done FaceTime or WebEx with our kids but Sunday we did the Zoom thing as well. it works well (once you figure it out, right?) and it does a mama’s heart good to actually see instead of just hear voices. So happy you got to see them and that’s a great score for the hand sanitizer. We are not quite under a shelter in place order but we are definitely taking all of the precautions. Stay healthy!

  3. Kiandra Judge Says:

    I’m glad you could connect over Zoom! Technology has been a huge help for us to connect with my family and especially for our son who FaceTimes with his cousins in Apple Valley everyday. We do different art or science projects each day that me or my sister have come up with.
    We’ve also been doing “drive by’s” and simply drive by homes of our family and friends and wave. We’ve been putting up messages in the windows for each other. These little ways to stay connected help so very much! Prayers for you, your family and all your readers to stay health and connected.

  4. Judith Says:

    Well done on connecting with your family. I’m betting you’ll work out a way of organising a virtual Easter Egg hunt for your grandchildren ! You’re always inventive at family fun events. Some friends & I are having a distanced Easter Bonnet competition, using only what’s to hand. I’ve a feeling the children will win. Hoping all your family keep well, and thank you for your positive posts.

  5. Once we can be together again it will be an overall CELEBRATION for many occasions for sure!!! How nice for you to see the family 🙂 We all are missing our extended loved ones.

    Still not able to find hand sanitizer here. So Mr. Craves created a solution of antimicrobial soap and water in a spray bottle to keep on hand in the house, garage and cars along with paper toweling and garage bag (we still hand wash and surface clean once home). I feel like I am on deja vu going in to work. Basically leave home and do not stop anywhere and then do the same thing on the way home.

    All we can do is take it one day at a time and be safe. Take Care

  6. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    That’s great that you all connected on Zoom! My husband uses Zoom every day for lab meetings and, yesterday, attended his grad student’s thesis defense that way. It’s just amazing what Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, and What’s App allows us to do as we try to stay connected to people not under our own roofs. And, yep, I’ve used all of those applications in the past week. 🙂 My daughter has started chatting with us via Google Hangouts every afternoon. Yesterday, I got to read to my granddaughter via FaceTime. And she read to me, too!

  7. Trace Adams Says:

    2 Thumbs Way up Audrey on your techno abilities! So glad you were able to connect with your family like this. We just started looking at zoom ourselves.

  8. Hey, I laughed out loud when I saw he (POTUS) said that everyone would be in church on Easter Sunday. It wasn’t followed with “right” so I guessed it wasn’t a joke but I laughed anyway. Glad to see you guys are creative in working solutions.

  9. JanBeek Says:

    Don’t you wish you had stock in ZOOM corporation right now?

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