During the early days of the pandemic, many families had to forgo in-person visits with senior loved ones as a means to keep them safe.

A year ago, the lockdown forced Erika Shimahara, the writer of this week’s Modern Love essay, to find a safe and creative way to stay engaged with her 84-year-old mother, who lives in an assisted living facility. The pair spent their time working up a sweat and dancing to a curated playlist of her mother’s favorite songs over FaceTime. “If it weren’t for Covid, I never would have learned that my mother and I can have fun together without actually being in the same place,” Ms. Shimahara writes.

Free Mom Hugs. In addition to giving out hugs at various L.G.B.T.Q. events, Ms. Cunningham also performs and attends same-sex weddings.

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