Due to Covid-19 Happy and I will not travel to Nanna’s for the holidays. Nanna is 75 and at high-risk to contract the virus even from the most well-meaning gestures of love. I miss seeing her but I love her too much to risk putting her precious life in jeopardy.
I need her alive.
So Happy and I will stay in LA, where the Covid numbers are on the rise. We will stay home and Facetime our family as an act of love instead of running the risk of polluting vulnerable family and friends with weak immune systems.
Real talk: The pandemic has made me reevaluate how I demonstrate love.
I use to be so adamant about ”seeing” Nanna during the holidays. I thought that if I organized my life around coming home once a year to be in her physical presence she would take that to mean I love her.
I was wrong.
Love is caring more about the people–Nanna, Aunt Dorothy, my cousins Donna Major, and Freddie, Mario Jessup and William, and all Nanna’s people who adopted me as their own–than doing what I want.
Be very clear: I WANT to go home for the holidays.
I miss banana pudding. Donna always lies about making it, only to break it out the day AFTER thanksgiving so we don’t have to share.
I miss being razzed by my cousin Mario about SOMETHING! He and William tease me about whatever they can find that will get on my nerves: my hair, my weight, not cleaning my plate and throwing good food away.
I miss messing up the hymn we sing before we go around and individually give thanks that EVERY year NOONE knows the words except the elders.
I miss getting into screaming matches over the interpretation of various passages in the Bible with all the reverends in the family (especially Juliette and her husband.)
I miss the tall tales from my cousin Bobby, who has cancer. I miss the robust laughter of my cousin Nelsen as he tells me how much he loves me and how much he enjoys my posts on IG. He reads every one.
But what I miss most of all are the hugs.
I miss being touched by people who love me.
So if I had my way, I would be on the next plane out of dodge with Happy in tow. But if I did, I’d be putting the very people who loved me back to life when I had just gotten off the streets and Nanna took me to my first family Thanksgiving dinner in real danger. So as an act of love, I’m staying home.
The death toll is rising in America. There are more COVID cases than there are beds for in the hospitals. Doctors and nurses are exhausted from the sheer volume of infected people.
So as we adapt to this new reality of face-covers and socially-distanced holiday seasons, I encourage you to be safe, stay home and love your family by putting their health first.
You never know. Your willingness to love from afar could save your elders or high-risk family members’ lives.
I’m not being pessimistic; I’m being realistic.
I love you too much to not ask you to evaluate how you celebrate the holidays. Truth be told YOU could be the one who gets infected from a family member who doesn’t show any signs.
So if you can: stay home.
Here are some memories from my family on Thanksgiving. Just looking at them floods my heart with warmth and joy. I will let these feelings be my hug this year. I am grateful to be so loved.