I can’t wait! Next Saturday, I am going to visit my family for the second time since the pandemic started. This time, I’ll see my mother, brother, and sister-in-law. Because all three have been vaccinated (although I have not), the upcoming visit will definitely be different than the first.
In August, my mother, brother, sister, and brother-in-law gathered to celebrate my mother’s 89th birthday. Instead of taking my mother out to a potentially germy restaurant, my sister and I prepared a festive meal, and we dined outdoors at my mother’s house on a hot, sunny summer day. To follow the pandemic protocol, we wore masks, social distanced, used hand sanitizer, and avoided touching each other’s plates and utensils, etc. (I even put each place setting in its own paper bag and let the items sit untouched for three days before we gathered.) While we were initially very cautious, by the end of the afternoon, we were talking without masks and were posing together for pictures – both bad ideas. Luckily, we all remained healthy, but I realized that social distancing with my family was unrealistic; some felt that getting close to family members didn’t really count. I thought that because we lived in different households in different states and because we came across different people, we should be more careful. I worried that we might inadvertently get my elderly mother sick, so I resolved to wait until my mother was vaccinated before I visited again.
And now she is! This time, I’ll hug my family to say “hello” and “goodbye.” We’ll gather indoors in my mother’s living room and talk without hiding our faces behind masks. We’ll touch surfaces without immediately disinfecting them. We’ll relax, knowing that we are safe from Covid-19. We’ll talk and laugh and roll our eyes at each other’s quirkiness. It will be the first normal gathering that I will have had in a year. It can’t come soon enough!