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‘A special connection:’ Nana and Papa Zoom sessions help connect with grandson in Portland

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MILWAUKEE -- If you need a pick-me-up, there are a collection of feel-good stories at ShareLemonade.com.

It's a place to celebrate the good, and turn lemons into lemonade.

One freshly-picked story from the site focused on how local grandparents are finding a fun way to connect with their grandson who lives thousands of miles away.

"When travel restrictions were put upon us, we realized we weren't going to get out to Portland to see Sol, who's 5," said Judy Cohen.

For Judy and her husband, Jeff, the fact they can't see their 5-year-old grandson in person isn't stopping them from spending quality time with him.

Their daughter-in-law suggested the couple read him a story. The boy loved it, and next time, invited some friends to listen over a Zoom call.

The pair started reading books about animals, and it gave Jeff the idea to dress up as the animal.

Now, story time is twice a week.

Mondays, it's a new book with a new costume.

On Fridays? Fridays are Dr. Seuss.

"You know, when you become a grandparent, your mindset is different," said Jeff Cohen. "Your whole realm of thinking is different, and it's like, 'I'll do it for the grandkids.'"

But it's not all fun and games.

After Jeff reads the books, Judy swoops in to teach.

"We work on fine motor, we work on rhyming words and sight words," said Judy Cohen. "They want more, and more, and more, and they're not in a school environment."

What do Nana and Papa get out of this?

"I'm realizing there are many ways to connect with kids, and that kids don't want you to be perfect," said Jeff Cohen. "Kids want to have a good time, and they want to learn something too, and it's also fun for us, too."

"It's a special connection, and it's something we are always going to remember," said Judy Cohen.  "The quarantine will go away. The virus will disappear hopefully someday soon, but this zooming, this Nana and Papa Zoom is not going away. We may do this a long time. Who knows?"

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