LAKE ZURICH, Ill. (CBS) — It has been a long wait, but there is joy like none other for one local family this holiday season.

Some loved ones thankful for a hug, touch, and feelings of togetherness. CBS 2’s Steven Graves spoke to them about why the reunion was so special.

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There were uncontrollable screams of excitement as Piper McGrath, 11, and her sister Alexa, 8, embraced their grandmother, Cynthia Dorf – affectionately known as Nina. They did not want to let her out of their arms.

“I was trying not to cry, I was so happy,” said Ms. Dorf.

“I was just overwhelmed,” added Alexa.

The girls and their grandmother spent two years separated between Lake Zurich and Arizona. They couldn’t touch, decorate cookies, or have Thanksgiving dinner together.

Grandpa James Dorf even brought a newly adopted four-legged canine grandchild – Rosie – to the party.

“There was just so much excitement,” said Mr. Dorf. “They didn’t hug me for 20 minutes until they settled down a little bit.”

“We can kind of just like bond and kind of just like – we can like hug each other,” said Piper.

It is a simple embrace that the family attributes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Nina and Papa recently got their booster shots, and the girls now have their first dose.

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“I was glad that I got it so Nina and Papa could come,” said Alexa.

“I feel like I spent two years in fear,” added Ms. Dorf.

Over those two years, communication was full of virtual visits. But of course, nothing compares to physical touch.

But it’s what you can’t see – the feelings – that have really stuck with the family.

“It’s the shared, that human beings have. It’s an awesome feeling,” said Ms. Dorf. “So being able to do this, was everything to me.”

“A bit of joy we could have,” said Mr. Dorf. “It was really good.”

The moment the Dorfs shared with their granddaughters touched hundreds on social media. People were crying along – feeling like this family was theirs.

“I just felt like there was a piece missing, and this was the piece, I think,” said Ms. Dorf.

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This year, thankfulness is taking on new meaning.