Thanksgiving and pandemic. Those two words don’t usually go well together.
(Click Here to listen to this post narrated by Dr. Mache to his original music performed by Ben Schwendener).
But for the past two Thanksgivings, they have. And it has stretched the seams of the fabric of family life.
Last year our family limited the holiday celebration to immediate family, with some concern about being inside with even that small group.
This year, the larger extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great grandparents grew restless and wanted, even demanded, we have a family – no friends – gathering. They numbered 28 people from 9 households.
Everyone was vaccinated except young kids. But they were in daycare or playgroups. And there are breakthrough infections and asymptomatic carriers. Some of the adults were in healthcare at some constant potential risk. And some had health conditions that would put them in peril if they did catch covid.
With some pushback, we all agreed to get tested just before the big day. But many other families had the same idea, so getting tested was easier said than done.
With some effort, everyone tested negative.
It has been a long time since we all got together. A long time since we wore no masks. A long time since we hugged. A long time since we heard someone nearby randomly cough and not find ourself stepping back with worry that we could get infected.
This gathering made clear just how much we have all missed the normalcy of routine gatherings; of face-to-face relationships; and the joy of just for a day, not worrying about who was standing near us.
There are a lot of people who do not share my caution. Who don’t believe in vaccination or masks, or care that they could infect an unsuspecting person who could die because of their inaction. I don’t have an answer for that.
But I do know how grateful I am for having a day of caring and sharing and hugging and talking without worry. Thanksgiving and pandemic are two words that don’t usually go together; but they can. And for that, I am grateful.