While we are still experiencing the effects of the pandemic on our daily lives and economy, we seem to be moving towards a certain level of coping and living with the virus’s impact on our lives. Everyone is comfortable with a different level of risk, especially depending on existing health concerns among close family members.
Fortunately, our family does not have members who are at extreme high risk. We do have grandparents who fall in the risk age group, as do most families, so we are always thoughtful about our interactions. That being said, we have all been able to receive vaccines and feel comfortable dining together and spending time indoors without masks.
I cannot say the same for last year at this time! The holidays were such a challenge for everyone in 2020. Because we had so much less information, and only one family member had received a vaccine, we felt obligated to focus on keeping things very low risk. As a result, we had a very small group gathered, and did not have a meal together. No delicious appetizers and no cheesecake for dessert! We focused on what was most important to us for the day, and that was being together.
So in 2020, we opened some gifts inside while wearing our masks. We chatted and had a holiday beverage outside for as long as we could tolerate the cold! And then everyone went home...
This year, we are so looking forward to being able to relax a bit more. The act of sharing a meal with family and friends is central to most of our lives and cultures, and we are looking forward to that experience again. It will mean so much more knowing that we had to miss it last year. For the youngest children in our family, this will be so special!
The opportunity to exchange hugs and hold babies, knowing that we have done all that we can to protect those around us, will also be more meaningful than ever before.
I’ve also enjoyed receiving cards in the mail showing photos of families who got to travel this year—remembering that we saw so little of that last season.
While sharing a meal, exchanging hugs, and enjoying travel photos may have been things we took for granted in the past, they are no longer. I, personally, am grateful for the opportunity to make up for last year as we come together for these family gatherings. Wishing you all some of these same simple joys.