Baby meets namesake great-grandma through car window amid COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 7:24 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 08:24:36-04

A 98-year-old met her 15th great-grandchild through a car window this month, during the novel coronavirus crisis.

Ross and Maggie Oberschlake, parents of 6-week-old Emma, brought their daughter to a parking lot in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, to greet grandma Janina for the first time.

"It was bittersweet for her," Maggie Oberschlake told "Good Morning America." "She was so happy and excited to be driving to see Emma, even if it meant it was just going to be through a window."

"Once she got there and the reality sank in, I could see sadness in her eyes since she couldn't actually hold her."

Baby Emma's middle name is Jane, which is the English translation of Janina. Janina came to America from Poland in 1974. She has five children, eight grandchildren and her 16th great-grandchild is on the way.

"She came here with one bag, didn't know the language, didn't have a job lined up or a place to stay," said Oberschlake who is also mom to William, 5 and Matthew, 2. "She was able to find a few jobs and worked long hours and slept little."

"[Emma] is named after a strong and loving woman who made many sacrifices to pave the way for a better life for my entire family," she added.

Janina is currently self-isolating during the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak. Janina does go to dialysis 3-4 times per week, which are the only times she goes outside.

The CDC says older adults are at higher risk and health officials have recommended the elderly stay home as the crisis continues.

Janina and Emma's meeting was shared by news outlets across the country.

"It has been amazing seeing all of this love everywhere from people," Oberschlake said. "They are finding ways to show and spread love under the current circumstances."

"[My grandmother] already loves Emma deeply and hasn't met her for more than that one minute."