🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
Thanksgiving is usually the time of year to gather with friends and family, share meals, and exchange intimate words of gratitude with one another. Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the usual customs...
and celebratory traditions for this year may look a little different depending on who's celebrating. Some families choose to celebrate as they always have because they’re only celebrating with the family in their household or because they are confident that the people they are celebrating with are COVID-19 free. Others choose to be more cautious because of the high-risk people in their family, or the seemingly inconvenient process of quarantining for two weeks may be nearly impossible for some schedules.
Whatever the reason may be, as long as the families are on the same page about planning their events, the occasion will go smoothly no matter what the circumstances are. What happens when families can’t agree on keeping or modifying their age-old traditions? More specifically, what happens if the people who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, due to age or health condition, lack the urgency to take precautions? This dynamic represents my family’s current situation.
While all of my family members respect the mandates set in place for the public, such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and not gathering in large groups, these guidelines become less concrete when it comes to family functions. My grandparents, specifically, are less cautious as they still want us to go up to their house like we always have, even though my household is continuously in contact with other people because of our jobs. They still want to prepare the food (by hand) how they always have because home-cooked meals taste the best. And they still want to hug and kiss us because, after all, they are our grandparents. My mom made the executive decision that we wouldn’t attend our annual Thanksgiving dinner up in Virginia this year because she was concerned about all of the health risks involved, especially for my grandmother as she is nearing 70.
It’s hard to protect the people that you care about when they may underestimate the severity of their situation. My household feels like we’re doing “the right thing” this year by not attending the gathering in Virginia. Still, like many others in our position, we are facing the emotional toll that missing out on these interactions has. The one custom that both the traditional and nontraditional observers can maintain is remembering all of the things to be grateful for during this time. Whether you’re celebrating as you always have or with some new modifications, recognizing that family and gratitude is at the heart of this celebration will help us find some more common ground during these times.