I'm ready to crawl from Canberra to Victoria for my 'Stanley cuddles'

I'm ready to crawl from Canberra to Victoria for my 'Stanley cuddles'

OPINION
National News
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A four-month wait to meet my beautiful new grandson is about to end.

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Stanley James Brodel, a new grandson for Karleen Minney, living in Melbourne.

Stanley James Brodel, a new grandson for Karleen Minney, living in Melbourne.

In an Instagram post back in August I announced that a family event had bought us to our knees and that I'd crawl all the way to Melbourne on them if only they would open the Victorian borders . If you know me, you'd believe I'd do it.

Our beautiful son and his wife became parents to an even more beautiful son, and then hours later was quickly thrust into a battle with illness that put him into the special care nursery for some weeks and tore us all up from the inside out.

This Christmas the new family will be here in Canberra to meet Santa and all the baby Stanley fans, but with the Victorian borders opening to us on Monday we are not leaving that far-away date to chance!

We will be hooning down the Hume this week to make sure he is even half as cute as the videos, photos, House Party sessions and FaceTime appearances.

I need to know the dopamine hit of that newborn baby smell, see his tiny lashes rest on his cheek while he's sleeping and smugly smile at his incessant crying because, "hey, it's karma, dad. Your turn".

Many Canberra families will be doing the same - reuniting with loved ones they haven't been able to be around for the past four months.

ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman confirmed the ACT would reopen its border to Victorians from 12.01am on Monday, provided there was no significant change to the COVID-19 situation over the weekend.

Karleen Minney, front right, will be able to see her family when the Victoria border opens on Monday, including new grandson Stanley. Pictures: Supplied

Karleen Minney, front right, will be able to see her family when the Victoria border opens on Monday, including new grandson Stanley. Pictures: Supplied

Several ACT residents were left stranded on the Albury-Wodonga border in August when the NSW government unexpectedly revoked travel permits to get back to the capital.

It is hoped crossing the Murray River in either direction will be smoother this time, Dr Coleman saying: "People entering the ACT from Victoria will no longer need to seek an exemption from ACT Health.

"The lifting of restrictions will give people the confidence to make plans, book holidays and reunite with family members in Victoria in the lead up to Christmas."

Looking back I feel like a vacuous fool, because for days before I was whingeing that COVID restrictions would not only deny me "Stanley cuddles" but his nanny photographer wouldn't be able to take his newborn photos. Perspective.

The panic, pain and helplessness his parents felt reverberated all the way up to Canberra, where we literally worried ourselves sick and worst of all, felt helpless to assist in any small way. Not even a hug.

I know exactly how on edge expats from South Australia had felt before their lockdown was given an early reprieve on Friday.

I've spent my fair share of nights worrying about how this isolation time and ensuing loneliness is harming both the mental and physical health of my family after 112 cruel days.

My daughter has bunkered down to her condensed and intensive nursing studies and answers, "How are you doing?" with an, "I'm OK" that I never quite believe.

Our iso-family members are maybe worried about us worrying, or are they maybe convincing themselves just a little? I don't believe anyone is altogether unaltered or 'OK' after this.

There have been deaths in our family, births and too many uncelebrated good things. On the way back to normality there will be hugs and tears, I will jump up and down with my brothers and sisters, hold my uncle and aunty tight, smile and laugh with my cousins, play with my girlfriends and squish my kids.

But that first cuddle of that cherubic child, that's what I've dreamed about for way too long now.

  • Karleen Minney is The Canberra Times' photography editor.

The story I'm ready to crawl from Canberra to Victoria for my 'Stanley cuddles' first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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