pandemic behavior

Post Pandemic Planning: Let the Thanksgiving negotiations begin

Dinner table Rockwell

I have a moment of hesitation every time I step up to do something I used to do before the pandemic: Fly on an airplane; ride the subway;  eat in a restaurant; have a dinner party with several friends.

Now Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and with it inter-family negotiations over what it will be like this year. Last year, our family "feast" was virtual. We had fun via zoom with my son and his family and my daughter and hers. We posted old photos and held a family quiz over captions for the photos. We laughed a lot and everyone participated.  (Here's my post on how we and other families did Zoomsgivings.)

Now we are free to move about the country and be together in person. I feel that momentary qualm of hesitation. Yet even Doctor Fauci says it's okay. The deeper issue for our family is, will we return to Thanksgiving the way it was before we had to quarantine? How will we adjust to new family circumstances and year-old issues that couldn't get worked out last year? Since our grown children live traveling distance away from us and from eachother, who's going to brave the highways or the congested airports? Will we have to create a brave, new "Build Back Better" holiday?

Discussions and adjustments are underway. The heart wants to go back to the way things were for the past decade or so, but can we? Our families, like most, are in flux. One granddaughter is in Italy--she won't make it home for Thanksgiving. A 92-year-old cousin, who had not been part of our Thanksgiving revelries, lives alone and has grown frail. He's in need of a holiday pick-me-up, but he doesn't live near any of us. How do we bring holiday company to him? Do we, as my daughter put it, "abandon tradition." Logistics are such that we may have to split up who goes where and change the day of the week that we celebrate the holiday and with whom.

It's a delicate situation. So many moving parts, so many possibilities and so many sensitive feelings. We have to take care. We could so easily end up with a family misunderstanding or rift. But there's no turning back to yesterday--make that, the year before the year before. 

“The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on..."  Or so Omar Khayyam reminds us.

I'm hoping that our moving fingers will write a plan for a Thanksgiving we'll all enjoy, where everyone can participate one way or another and where we'll find lots to laugh about. Let the hesitancy end; let the diplomacy begin.

painting: Norman Rockwell


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Notes to Self: Daily Reminders

  • Overlook it. If you can't overlook it, forgive it.
  • It's their life.
  • If they want advice, they'll ask for it.
  • Keep up your own interests.
  • Be enthusiastic. It beats being critical.
  • It's better to be liked than right.
  • Let them treat you to something.
  • Keep good-housekeeping tips to yourself
I'm a writer and editor with two grown children, four grands, and two grand-bunnies.