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Back in June of 2020 my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren drove from Los Angeles, California to Columbus, Ohio to spend a month with us sheltering in place. (Remember that old directive from the early days of the epidemic?)
And so the summer passed, the beautiful days of early autumn came and went, the COVID curve that had been flattened over the summer,
But that surely didn't mean me not seeing my children and grandchildren at Christmas. It didn't mean we shouldn't drive to Chicago during the holiday season as we did every year to spend a couple of days with our daughter and son-in-law.
That is to say, fringes of thoughts that maybe I shouldn't visit my daughter in Chicago or have anyone else visit me began blowing around the edge of my holiday plans, making me feel uneasy. I'd brush the thoughts away - surely there was no danger in being with my family, they were careful as can be, they were safe - but then the thoughts would blow right back. And then there was the news article I read that warned that, when it comes to COVID, you can't trust your family. I found myself floundering in a state that teetered back and forth between indecision and denial.
As it turned out, it was about midway through November when I finally saw the light.
I called my daughter in Chicago and asked her when she would like me to come to visit for a few days. She told me not to come. Absolutely not to come.
Now, I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise that my daughter would tell me not to come and visit her in Chicago at the height of the COVID epidemic. She's the charge nurse for the COVID Intensive Care Unit at her hospital.
My daughter assured me that she would be perfectly fine if I didn't come and see her. In fact she would be fine not only over the holidays but until whenever the time came that we could safely meet again.
It was then, after that talk with my daughter, that I realized that I needed to melt those sugarplums in my head and come to terms with the fact that, not only should I not be traveling to anyone else's house for the holidays this year, nobody else should be traveling or coming over to my house. And once I had made the decision and steeled my resolve, I was able to make the phone calls.
First I called my son and told him that I wouldn't be having anyone (by "anyone" meaning him) over for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time until the epidemic was over and it was safe again.
Now, my son works in research at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.
"But will you be okay? Not getting together for the holidays?"
He, too, assured me that he'd be fine. He sounded fine. I felt relived.
When I called my daughter in Los Angeles to cancel our plans to have her family drive out for Christmas and spend a month, she one hundred percent agreed that they shouldn't come. I didn't ask if they would be all right not spending a month in Ohio during the winter. I had a feeling they would be.
And here it is, January 3, and all of us are all right.
Happy New Year. May you all be all right.