One would think that the world would have a flow chart or a play book in navigating everything Covid by now. Most are pretty versed in how to mask up, social distance, and sanitize, sanitize, sanitize but does anyone know how to navigate when a close family member has Covid during the holiday season?
Holidays in December, pre-Covid, were times when family members from across the country or from across the world would come together to celebrate and to spend time together which included hugs, kisses and a lot of togetherness.
Holidays in December 2021, during Covid, consist of social distancing, Zoom Calls, rapid tests, PCR tests, vaccinations and boosters, but worst of all LONELINESS.
Covid hit my family this year and the opinions of how to navigate Christmas were plentiful. A close family member was in the middle of a Covid bout but not out of the quarantine timeline which left some of us wondering, where do we go from here? Do we carry on with our yearly Christmas traditions like Covid does not exist? Do we keep to our own homes?
My immediate family decided that we would stay home, just the four of us. Not to be dramatic but this may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life. In my 41 years, I have spent every Christmas with my mom, my bonus dad and my little brother even when my biological father was alive. They are Christmas to me along with our Belizean food, Belizean Christmas music, and most importantly, our unique love for one another.
What do we eat? What do we do after exchanging gifts? Still more questions after questions so we took the day as it came. After the kids discovered their Santa presents and we exchanged our wrapped presents, we became couch potatoes (I took two naps) staying in our pajamas all day and all night binging our favorite National Geographic series. Mike made hamburgers on his new grill and we ate ALL of the candy that Santa brought us. It was an unconventional day to say the least – different from our normal opening presents, rushing to get dressed then hurriedly driving to my parents’ house.
The silver lining in all of this is the amount of quality time that we have come to love with the people that live in my grown up home. I have come to appreciate my son’s quirky humor, his patience for his sister and his love for music. My daughter has comedic timing like no other and a soft underside that few others witness. These qualities of my children may have gone unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of our pre-Covid lives.
While enjoying the family that I created, I could not help but feel that something was amiss. I missed my mom, my dad, my brother and his little family as well as the traditions that I love. This is the part of the grown up world that I never imagined as a child. Who would have thought that death would not be the only obstacle to celebrating Christmas in person with my family when we live in the same metro area? The family that I’ve celebrated Christmas with the last 41 years of my life? We decided to not let Covid ruin our extended family Christmas; we would reschedule our day together to celebrate our family and to celebrate the birth of Christ.
There is no flowchart or playbook illustrating how to navigate Covid during the holidays, but there is one rule that goes a long way, RESPECT. Everyone should respect the wants and needs of our families while giving ourselves grace. If we have family members that are sick or who want to change up traditional holidays due to Covid, we must respect their wishes. Just like this life, we must do what is best for each member of our family and for ourselves.