The holiday season is well underway, and while I very much enjoy the magic of this time of year, I’m going to have to bum y’all out a little.
Because this is the second Christmas running that I have not spent with my mother.
Since moving to the U.S. from the U.K. in 2007, my mum has either come here to spend the holiday with us or we have gone there. Even before I moved here, I would either spend the day itself or at least a good part of the season with her. But this year, like last, is different. Because of COVID.
Yeah, I know we are all tired of hearing about it. Many have already reverted back to the lives we led before the pandemic. But unfortunately for those of us with family who live overseas or far away, the pandemic is far from over and it’s affecting yet another holiday season.
My mother has not seen my kids since December 2019. When she last saw them in person, they were 18 months and 4 1/2. They are now 3 1/3 and 6 1/2. That’s a lot of growing up she hasn’t gotten to see in person because of the pandemic. Sure, we FaceTime weekly, but who really thinks that is the same as spending time together in person?
I’m sure there are people out there who would tell me to “get over my fear” and “live my life.”
But my mother, who just turned 70, suffers from an autoimmune disorder, and it could be really serious for her if she caught COVID. Who wants to risk getting their mother sick? I can tell you that every time she comes here or we go there, someone gets sick from something they caught on the plane. Now the thing we could catch on the plane could be deadly. So yeah, it sucks, but I don’t want to risk making my mum sick.
But as we prepare for our second Christmas in a row celebrating across the world from each other (and my mum by herself), I can’t help but be angry that we are still here, almost two years after the first COVID case. And as we enter our junior year of the pandemic, I honestly wonder if it will ever be truly safe for my mother to come and visit us again, or for us to visit her. When people aren’t taking the steps needed to get this under control, I sometimes feel really hopeless for the future.
This holiday season, I plan to make it as fun as possible for my kids, while also mourning yet another lost year with my mother. And I can only hope that next year, we might get to spend the holiday together as we have for so many years before. And if you still think that this pandemic is no big deal, I beg that you think of me and my family, an ocean apart this holiday season, doing all the right things but still being kept apart by a pandemic that seems like it will never end.