Social distancing: Vail family keeping 1-year-old twins away from high-risk grandparents |

Social distancing: Vail family keeping 1-year-old twins away from high-risk grandparents

Emily Helmreich waves to her 1-year-old twin granddaughters while maintaining social distancing. The local 75-year-old also has asthma, so the family is taking safety measures to keep her safe, including staying physically away from her precious grandchildren.
Special to the Daily

Social distancing to prevent the coronavirus spread is changing the way people live their lives. For one Vail family, “it’s heartbreaking.”

Molly Rabin said her 75-year-old mom, Emily Helmreich, moved to the valley three years ago to be near her and her husband in anticipation of a grandchild.

“And then we had twins,” Rabin said.

Helmreich, like many grandparents, was excited to provide daycare for her daughter and son-in-law — and spend precious time with her grandchildren. She spent most of the first year of their life by their side, helping care for and raise the babies while their parents worked in the community. However, since Helmreich has asthma, the family has decided to keep her safely away from the household — and the twins — for her own health.

Rabin’s father-in-law is taking chemotherapy, she said, “so we haven’t been able to see either of our parents.”

Missing milestones

On March 12, Molly and her husband, Barclay, were looking forward to celebrating Lillian and Solvei’s first birthday, but coronavirus restrictions crashed the party.

“We were sad not to celebrate, but at the same time we were lucky that it was the first birthday so they didn’t really know,” Barclay said.

As Barclay’s employers shut down shop in Vail and Molly started working from home, the parents were then able to care for their kids while at home and give their child care provider — Molly’s mom — some time to self-quarantine and stay safe.

“We basically told my mom not to come over anymore because we wanted to just watch out for her,” Molly said. “They’ve been really understanding,” she added of her mom and in-laws. “We’re all on the same page. This is for all of our benefit. If we all stay healthy, we’re all going to get to spend time together in the future.”

As the babies grow, first steps, first words and other milestones will surely happen. Molly said on the last day her mom watched the kids before social distancing, one of the twins was taking maybe one to two steps and then falling down.

“Now she’s walking from the kitchen to the living room and has turned into a walking nightmare,” Molly said, adding that it’s a shame her mother couldn’t have been in the home to see it. “It’s especially heartbreaking for my mom because not many grandmothers get to spend that much time with their grandkids, being our daycare for us.”

While Helmreich isn’t physically in the house, she still stops by to say hello to the kids — always at least 6 feet away.

“They cry and cry,” Molly said of the twins, “but they laugh, too.”

Molly and Barclay also use Facetime to keep the grandparents in the loop. The babies are intrigued by the phone, so the parents toss the phone back and forth to get the twins to walk while on Facetime.

“So my mom can see the babies walk kind of to her, in a way,” Molly said.

The Rabins were both living in the valley in 2008 when the recession hit. They are looking forward to getting back to normal.

“I’ve seen how this town comes back to life, and it’s going to happen,” Molly said.

Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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