Monday, July 11, 2022

#MicroblogMondays: The looming spectre

Yesterday was stepMIL's 80th birthday party. We've avoided most large family gatherings thus far since covid began, but this one was pretty hard to say no to (especially since we've only seen stepMIL & her family two, maybe three times since the pandemic began) -- and so we went, with BIL & SIL. It was a beautiful day -- clear and sunny, but not too terribly hot or humid, thank goodness -- so we were (thankfully) able to spend the entire time outdoors. The only times I briefly ventured inside were to stow away my purse, use the bathroom, and to fill my plate with food in the kitchen. (And it's a big house, and there were few if any other people inside at the time.) 

There were between 30 & 40 people there -- members of stepMIL's family, including her nieces and nephews and their families, and dh's uncles & aunts (his late dad's brother, sisters & brothers-in-law, all now in their 70s & 80s)(but not any of his cousins). We hadn't seen any of them since pre-covid times, and (against my better judgment) there were lots of hugs and kisses on both cheeks (Italian-style) all round.  Dh, BIL & SIL greeted them ahead of me and did not fend off their hugs & kisses -- and they were all so clearly delighted to see us. It's hard to be the churlish outlier...! 

Older Nephew's wife wound up with a case of food poisoning (!) from takeout the night before and stayed home, but Older Nephew still came with Little Great-Nephew, who was, of course, the hit of the party (sorry, stepMIL!  lol).  ;) None of the aunts & uncles had seen LGN before -- their GREAT-GREAT-nephew!! (now 2 & 1/2 years old) -- and I will admit I felt a little sad as I watched them fuss over him. I work on family trees on paper and computer, and here were FOUR generations of the extended family, all together right in front of me. Something I never got to experience myself, and never will. It was special, but also a bit of an "ouch" moment. 

The looming spectre of covid -- now in its SEVENTH wave hereabouts, running rampant in the almost complete absence of masks or any other restrictions -- hung over the gathering. As I wrote a few posts ago, Younger Nephew & his wife, the most covid-cautious people we know, were not planning on attending -- and then (despite all their best efforts at covid avoidance) Younger Nephew actually came down with the virus last week!! (He's pretty sure he got it from his SIL & her two little girls, who also got sick shortly after they visited.) He is feeling a lot better, albeit still a bit plugged up, but was still in no shape to be going anywhere. (His wife wisely decamped to stay with her parents nearby until he is fully recovered.)

StepMIL's youngest sister would have been there, but first her husband and then she succumbed to the virus. She's feeling better, but still testing positive, and so her only appearance was via Facetime on her oldest son's cellphone. 

Little Great-Nephew was fascinated by 
the gargantuan fountain in stepMIL's front yard
. :)  
Her other son and his wife were also there with their absolutely adorable 17-month-old baby. We were warned the baby had a cold, however, and so regretfully admired from a distance. 

One of dh's aunts told us her son (dh's cousin) recently spent a few days in Paris on business -- his wife came with him and once his work obligations were done, they spent a few days there as tourists. They arrived home to the current crowded chaos that is Toronto Pearson Airport and spent more than four & a half hours going through customs and waiting for their luggage. Despite the fact that masks are still required on flights and in airports here, they tested positive a few days later. (They decamped to their cottage "up north" to wait the virus out.) 

We came home, tired, full of food, and sunburned. 

Hopefully that's ALL we came home with...

(The first of my two summer surgeries -- the keratectomy/eye procedure -- is two weeks from today.) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here


  1. Awww, Little Great-Nephew is so big and adorable! Oh man, watching COVID spike again is...exhausting. I think what's scariest is that everything is so underreported because of home testing, but if Facebook is any indication you basically can't go on vacation without a souvenir. A virus souvenir. Ughhh. I hope you avoid it! They are saying this new variant is more contagious than measles. Which is insane.

  2. Fingers crossed for you that you didn't catch anything! I'd be masking up from now until your surgeries - and asking DH to do so as well - no matter where you are.

    Also, virus free virtual hugs for the ouch moments. Big family gatherings can do that, but I imagine big Italian family gatherings are even more ouch-making.

    Finally, ugh to the travel chaos. It's happening everywhere - so many absences due to covid (and here in NZ, winter colds and flu etc with our first flu season since 2019). Makes me think twice about travelling.

  3. I'm glad you got to see your family! You played it safe by staying outside and getting your food when it wasn't crowded.

    I have family visiting in a couple of weeks, and I am so nervous about it. But what am I supposed to do? Never see my parents and sister again? I've only seen my parents twice and my sister once in the last three years. I usually see them a couple of times a year. :( They all promise to wear N95 masks while traveling. I even specifically asked them not to take them off on the plane for snacks or drinks and they said they'd comply. I hope so...

    Covid isn't going away and I think we have to take calculated risks when it comes to the really important stuff. I mean, turning 80 is a pretty big deal. Thinking of you!