Since last Mother’s Day, there are moms who have seen their children grow from infants to toddlers who have yet to be able to take part in one of motherhood’s great joys — introducing those children to their own family members, particularly, if they are fortunate, to their own mothers.

As Sun Chronicle reporter Kayla Canne notes in today’s front-page story, this Sunday marks the first holiday in which the grip of the pandemic has begun to loosen.

Some families — thanks to those long-awaited vaccines — at least can begin to think about gathering face to face, to ooh and ahh over that new baby and even exchange hugs again.

Of course, those who really care will still exercise caution, particularly around those particularly vulnerable, including the ill and the elderly. (Something to keep in mind to keep a new wave at bay.)

But after a long winter, a difficult rollout of vaccinations, months of rumor and just bad advice about the coronavirus it’s only human nature to grasp for a bit of light and human warmth.

Over the past year, families have had to give up a lot of what they had thought was so important, of what made them families in the first place.

They have had to say goodbye to loved ones without the rituals and gatherings that made grief more bearable. They have had to forgo the celebration of such joyous events as weddings, where two families in fact become one. They have missed out on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Passover where young and old gather to measure the passage of time (and determine whether this or that favorite recipe has been properly executed by the latest generation.) So, too, with birthdays and christenings and graduations and playdates and shared summer vacations.

For the most part though, those lapses didn’t fracture families. Far from it.

Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

The longing for those reunions will make those familial bonds all he stronger in the end. And they will make that return to normality — whenever it comes — all the sweeter.

As a member of one family — planning a Mother’s Day celebration — told our reporter this week, “There’s love and joy again,” she said, speaking of the child who will be the center of attention. “He brings a burst of hope and happiness. We went into this pandemic not knowing what would happen, and you see that life goes on.”

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