MORGAN HILL (KPIX 5) — In the current COVID-19 era, birthday wishes can be hard to fulfill when you can’t see family in person. But a Bay Area family recently figured out a way to make a grandmother’s birthday dream come true.

All Morgan Hill resident Maria Vasquez wanted for her birthday was to hug her eleven grandchildren and family members.

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“Hugs have been off limits for me,” Vasquez explained.

When faced with the dilemma of allowing Vasquez the human contact she wanted without exposing her to increased coronavirus risk, her family got creative and set her up with a birthday surprise involving rubber gloves and a shower curtain.

KPIX 5 reporter Juliette Goodrich asked Vasquez to describe what happened that day when her family insisted she close her eyes for their visit.

“When they finally said, ‘Open your eyes,’ it was the shower curtain with two sets of gloves,” Vasquez remembered. “I’m like, ‘What!?!’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they actually listened to me when they asked me what I wanted.’ And that’s all I wanted. Hugs.”

And hugs she got. Her family took cell phone video of the emotional embraces with Vasquez’s grandchildren.

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Morgan Hill grandma birthday hugs (CBS)

“The emotions took off and I just couldn’t control myself. There was no other feeling that was better for me,” she said.

The last time the family all got together was in February, before the shelter-in-place order went into effect in the Bay Area.

“I just felt lost and I’m so used to giving my grandkids hugs and kisses and getting altogether. Just being able to do that it felt like my heart was going to burst,” said Vasquez.

She wasn’t alone. Her grandchildren said they had tears in their eyes and tried hard not to cry.

“My family got to hug her and she got the birthday present she asked for,” one of her granddaughters said.

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“I always took it for granted. I never thought a day would come where I wouldn’t be able to hug them,” said Vasquez. “For me, this was everything. This was the best gift ever. I will never. ever forget it. I will treasure it always.”

Juliette Goodrich