This morning I gathered up a big load of Christmas presents, put on my coat and mask and headed downstairs. My mom was waiting for me. We said hello, and then I proceeded to pile my bunch of gifts into her car. When that was done, I stood back as she unloaded several bags of Christmas and birthday presents from her trunk and put them as neatly as possible into the cart I had brought with me. We talked for a few minutes, said goodbye and went our separate ways. She hit the highway and I hit the hallway.
And that’s when it became real.
Carin and I have known for a while that things would be this way. We talked it over amongst ourselves and with our families weeks ago. But talking about it is quite a bit different than doing it. People talk about all sorts of things. Next time I see that guy, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. If I could do it again, I would ask that girl to dance. You can talk about anything, no matter your actual intent. But this is different. There’s no going back now. There’s no day long journey out to the middle of nowhere or bus to Toronto to see Carin’s family. There’s no Uber to a couple towns away to see mine. It’s just us. Here. In the apartment.
Things could be worse, of course. We could have no one. We could be broke. We could be sick. We could be in a hospital. We could be dead. All things considered, I’m fine with this. There are worse things in the world than waking up with someone you love, giving them a present or two and then deciding if your Christmas dinner is going to be chicken or steak. No, we certainly aren’t hurting. But things being fine doesn’t make them not weird, and it certainly doesn’t stop them from being sad.
Christmas with nobody but your immediate household is nobody’s idea of Christmas, but this year, that’s what we’re getting. For us, it’s necessary. We don’t have the luxury of repeatedly tempting fate to find out whether or not COVID is a hoax that so many others seem to think they have. What a thoughtless, selfish luxury, by the way. If we do too much fate tempting, there’s a decent chance that at least one of us might not see another Christmas. Maybe everything would be fine, but why find out? It’s only one Christmas. We’re adults. We can handle it. We can appreciate what we have, what we’re missing and what we’re going to get back once this is all over. It’s going to be ok.