Due to the coronavirus pandemic that has dominated most of 2020, loved ones are missing out on major moments at home, like meeting new relatives.
Monday on TODAY, Sheinelle Jones discussed a particularly painful experience for some families: Grandparents haven't been able to meet their new grandchildren during the pandemic.
"The bond between grandparents and their grandchildren is so unique and special," Sheinelle said. "I know I certainly miss mine."
Sheinelle highlighted one sweet moment that speaks to the time: A TikTok video that shows grandparents meeting their grandson for the first time has gone viral, garnering more than 2 million views. Parents Josh and Lauren Riboldi live in Hawaii, but Josh's parents live in Utah, so it wasn't until baby Cru was 6 months old that he was able to meet his grandparents in person.
Originally, the couple had planned to introduce the newborn to Josh's parents in March.
"Right as we were about to get on that flight, literally days before, the pandemic started and our flight was canceled," he told Sheinelle.
Josh's mother Sherilyn, Cru's grandma, said the moment was "very, very disappointing."
After several months, the couple booked another flight.
"Finally ... Josh and Lauren decided, 'OK, we're just going to come your way,'" Sherilyn said. "We've been counting the hours. Not the days, the hours."
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Sherilyn and her husband, Juan, drove to the airport to be right there when the Riboldi family finally arrived.
"It was an exciting moment because it had been anticipated for a long time, and it was just like love at first sight," Josh said.
New mom Lauren shared the video on TikTok. She said she understands why so many are loving the sweet moment.
"I feel like we're all kind of just searching for some type of connection, and not being able to be close to so many people that we love," she said. "I think so many people are going through this exact same thing that we are."
"I have interviewed women who have just had babies during the pandemic, and their parents haven’t met their grandchildren," Sheinelle told TODAY Parents. "It’s such a tough situation. When I saw that video of that baby meeting his grandparents for the first time, it just warmed my heart. I immediately asked my producers if we could find that family!"
"This is the first time you guys have ever done ... Zoom!" an elated Sheinelle said. "What does it feel like to be able to see my face as opposed to just talking on the phone all the time?"
"Oh, I think it's wonderful," said Sheinelle's grandmother, Jo Brown, who turned 90 in February and has been spending most of her time at home since the pandemic began. "I stay safe. Folks take off their shoes and put a mask on when they come to my house."
Brown said she's spent most of the pandemic trying to stay upbeat.
"You just go day by day to day, and stay positive," she said. "When Val gets kind of down, I tell him, 'Get on back up because if you get down I'll get down there with you.' We both have to stay up."
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The sweet pair hit a special milestone amid the pandemic: They've been married for 70 years and celebrated their anniversary over the summer.
Sheinelle told TODAY Parents she made the "spontaneous decision" in February to fly home with her kids ahead of her grandfather's birthday and was "so, so thankful" she made that trip since it was right before the coronavirus began to impact the U.S. Her grandfather, Dr. Val Brown, turned 96 on Valentine's Day. During the surprise family video call, he said he was happy to see his granddaughter's face.
"I feel very good, and the reason for that is because I can see your picture," he said. "And I know that you're doing fine."
"No, 'cause I'm only 20!" Jo Brown joked.
The kids and Sheinelle signed off with some sweet messages.
"Hope to see you soon!" said the kids.
"Miss you," Sheinelle said. "We love you."