The world indeed is big and scary but love and kindness seeps through in the most unexpected of places.
I am Jenny Gillan. I’m a music teacher, author and mum of two primary aged boys from Melbourne, Australia.
At the start of 2020, when the Pandemic was just grabbing its hold on the world, I received a heartbreaking phone call from my mum.
“Jenn, I saw the doctor and can’t see or hug the grandkids for a while,” she said.
“With my health issues the risk is just too great.”
Mum is Oma to seven boys (we don’t know how to make girls in our family!).
The youngest grandson, who was only three was really struggling to understand the separation.
My mum had a request for me “Could you please write me a song we can sing instead of hugs?”
The song wrote itself really.
I penned ‘Oma and Opa’s song’ during my son’s piano lesson and sang it to Oma and Opa on the phone, choking up as I did so.
When we got home, half an hour later, on a whim, I posted the song on the ‘Kindness Pandemic’, and was overwhelmed by the response.
So many people contacted me with their stories of separation and connection. There was so much pain out there, but also stunning acts of random
kindness. People have performed covers of the song, giving it their own spin, including some from the UK, Italy, USA and Germany. Social Distancing measures have lasted longer than I ever thought possible. Six months later, we’re still separated.
This song has kept us connected though my boys still miss ‘squishy hugs’. Video calls often finish with self hugs, suggested as an inferior, though heartfelt, substitute for the real thing.
It was my dream to present the song as a picture story book to my mum, so she can read it to the grandkids.
It has been hard to keep it a secret.
©2020 Jenny Gillan
Written by Jenny Gillan
Music and lyrics by Jenny Gillan
Illustrated by Nick Talbert
Product: Oma and Opa’s Song – The Book
Date Published: October 2020
Version: First Edition
A catalogue record for this work is available from the National Library of Australia