All over the country, grandparents are eagerly waiting to reunite with their grandchildren after being separated for so long during the pandemic. That moment finally came this week for Shirley Donaldson, a 90-year-old from Maryland, when she went to get her COVID-19 vaccine.
Several weeks ago, the grandmother received her first dose at a vaccine site that was pretty far away from her home. But her grandson Mike Rechen, who works as an EMT with the Montgomery County fire department, just so happened to be administering shots at a nearby site this week.
The 28-year-old was able to help reschedule his grandmother's appointment a bit closer to home and was thrilled when he realized he had the opportunity to administer her shot and see her in person for the first time in over a year.
The two have a special bond and are used to seeing each other almost every day. After all, Donaldson has played a pretty active role in Rechen's life.
"She started babysitting me when my mom went back to work when I was three months old," Rechen told TODAY over the phone. "We'd see her every time we would get out of school early, on snow days etc. She'd also come to all the sports games."
As excited as he was to see his grandmother in person, Rechen was a bit nervous about being the one to give her her second dose of the vaccine.
"I've given a lot of them but that one still had my hands shaking. I wanted to make sure it didn't hurt her," he said.
Donaldson took it all in good stride.
"It was wonderful. I am so proud of him and I'm so glad that it worked out this way. It was a special occasion," she told TODAY over the phone.
One day after receiving her second shot, the 90-year-old is already feeling more optimistic and can't wait to see her family.
"I'm fine, I finally took the Band-Aid off this morning," she said. "Hopefully we'll be able to have Easter together."
As for Rechen, he's feeling grateful that his grandmother is safe and clearly has a strong sense of admiration for the matriarch of his family.
"She's great, she's got more energy than I do. She's 90 and lives by herself, she still does all her own gardening and cleans her own house," he said.