by Donna L. Scrafano
As a family, we were wringing our hands about having a gathering for Christmas, my birthday (December 26), and New Year’s Eve. After all, a new Covid-19 variant was rearing its ugly head all over the world. But the decision was made. A text went out inviting only close family members, including two who were unvaccinated.
There were discussions of safety precautions to possibly be put into place (masks? Covid tests for all participants?), none of which we could agree upon. My greatest concern was about being indoors with the two unvaccinated family members.
The week leading up to Christmas included the normal frenzy of errands to purchase last-minute gifts and selecting the food and drinks for the upcoming Christmas feast. Early in the day of Christmas Eve, my fourteen-year-old grandson Quincy told us that he had a “scratchy” throat. He took his allergy medication and didn’t mention his throat again.
In the wee hours of Christmas morning, however, Quincy woke up with a painful throat and a low-grade fever. We waited for the pharmacy to open and hoped that they had Covid test kits. Thank goodness, they did. We purchased twelve, enough for our household and family members who had been with us the night before.
As the fates would have it, Quincy tested positive. I, my daughter, and son-in-law tested negative. (We tested again, at a hospital testing site, five days after our exposure. Still negative, thankfully.)
Needless to say, all plans were cancelled. In all honesty, I was relieved. I was never fully comfortable with being indoors with the unvaccinated, while a new variant was wreaking havoc. When I received the invite text, I actually asked the Universe to protect us or cancel the celebration altogether. Certainly not at the expense of my grandson. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the cancellation.
Christmas was quiet and peaceful. While Quincy quarantined in his room, the rest of us masked up, relaxed, watched movies, ate delicious food, and sipped on drinks. We FaceTimed Quincy throughout the day to make sure he was on the mend and delivered his food and meds at his door.
We also FaceTimed the four toddlers in the family and watched them happily play with all of their new toys. It was evident that those little ones were very content to be home. Although the adults were disappointed, they, too, finally embraced the fact that it was quite nice not to have to pull their children away from their toys and rush out the door to a family gathering.
The day after Christmas was my birthday. I spent some time on the phone with friends and relatives who called, took a walk, and watched more movies. Again, a peaceful and quiet day and night. Much appreciated. Honestly.
Quincy’s quarantine ended just in time for him to return to school. Although he was confined to his room, he had activities to keep him busy. Those included his new art project. He’d been trying to work on it for a while, but before being quarantined, it had been difficult to find the time.
I later found out that one of the unvaccinated family members had been exposed to the virus two days before our planned gathering. Two days after the would-be celebration, he tested positive. Again, thank you Universe.
My daughter wondered at one point what lessons the Universe wanted us to take away from this experience. Some of my thoughts on that included: 1. Things could have been worse, take a look around at the rest of the world (perspective); 2. There are different forms of celebrations (quiet time can be valuable); 3. Be okay with setting healthy boundaries, such as not having high-risk individuals in your home. I probably could come up with a few more, too.
It has been two years of battling this Covid-19 virus, and, like everyone else, I’d like it to be over. However, it is not. It is here. It is alive. And I, too, would like to stay alive and well.
My takeaway from this last experience? First and foremost, thank you Universe, God, Guides, whichever you are comfortable with, for helping us dodge a bullet. And I promise to be proactive, regardless of whom it may upset. I regret having compromised in that I didn’t stand my ground about not being indoors with unvaccinated individuals. So, no more!
Moving forward, I will “celebrate” by keeping myself safe, sane, and happy. After all, activities can be postponed. Safety cannot. Life cannot.
Photo credit by Jakob Owens @jakobowens (LA).
Donna began her journey in Human Services in 1983. During the next 35 years she held various positions and formally retired in 2018. She writes on an array of social issues. Donna's relaxation time includes walking her Lab, Roxy, having fun with her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, writing for Silver Sage, spending time with friends and family. Her last full-time position was providing care to her father. Since that has ended, Donna is taking the time to invest in her own self care and interests.