Christmas 2020 was a strange one. We were in the midst of COVID, with a vaccine seemingly a long way down the road. Yet my immediate family had a nice one.
A year later with vaccines under our belts (Moderna for hubby, Pfizer for my son and J&J for me), you would think that we would be in a better place. But we are not. The new variant, Omicron, is running through the streets and sadly has come to visit us. Yes, it is a COVID Christmas.
How could this have happened with my husband and I being vaccinated AND boosted and my son vaccinated? (He was supposed to have been boosted yesterday?) Omicron happened and as careful as we were, we weren’t careful enough. My son went to a party on Saturday night and by Tuesday morning he heard from several of his friends (who attended said party) that someone there had tested positive. My son had not been near this person, but…His girlfriend tested positive by Wednesday morning and he stayed home from school on Wednesday and Thursday as a precaution. Thursday morning, instead of taking him to get his booster, I took him to get tested.
The county run site both tests and vaccinates. The door for vaccinations was pretty deserted. The door to get tested was hopping. I have to say the place was extremely well run. We walked in and went to a station where we were given instructions and our kit. We then went back to our car to take the test. This is what took the longest; getting enough of my son’s spit into the little test tube. (No eating, drinking or chewing gum 30 minutes prior which is why we went first thing in the morning.) Getting enough saliva and mixing it with the solution that was in the screw top was the most difficult part. Then we just had to drop it off and wait.
Maybe that was the hardest part. Waiting. Results are supposedly provided within 24-48 hours, but with all the people who are getting tested I wasn’t expecting results until after Christmas. I was HOPING for results, but not expecting.
I am thankful that we DID get the results just after 5 this evening. No, they were not the results that I wanted, but it is what I NEEDED to know. It’s Christmas Eve and I wanted and expected to be in church tonight. My son and I were supposed to light the Christ candle on the Advent wreath. We were both supposed to read part of the Christmas story to the congregation. I had so wanted to sing one of my favorite anthems (“One Small Child” by Nancy Price & Don Besig). But I’m not. It’s not what I want, but its okay.
I won’t be going to see my parents. I’m upset about that, but I need to keep them safe. (They are vaccinated, but not yet boosted.) I need to take care of myself and I need to take care of those I love. That means staying away from my parents and from friends that I would like to hold close this Christmastime.
Looking at the bigger picture; all in all, I seem to be okay. My husband seems to be okay. My son seems to be okay. Sometimes I don’t feel great. Then I feel “normal.” The same goes for my husband. My son had some mild symptoms on Wednesday, but that seems to have come and gone. As they say, so far so good. I hope it stays this way.
This is not the Christmas Eve that I wanted. This will not be the Christmas that I wanted. But it is what I have and I am grateful to have it.
This Christmas I am grateful…for the Moderna vaccine, for the Pfizer vaccine, for the J & J vaccine. I am thankful that I was able to get my whole family vaccinated. I am thankful for healthcare workers; for those who vaccinated my family and myself. For those who worked long hours to get vaccines into arms. I am thankful that I am home; that I am with “my guys” and that we will get through this together. I am blessed with the knowledge that I have friends that I can rely on if I need anything. Friends who will keep me in their prayers.
This is a COVID Christmas for my family. Don’t join us; let this be the last COVID Christmas. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Wear a mask. Be safe.
On this Christmas night: remember “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than seven years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.
UPDATE: On Christmas Day, Essex County reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 in Verona, an increase of 348 positives since December 1. There were 3,296 across all of Essex County on Christmas. The county’s testing and vaccination site re-opens on Monday, December 27 and you can make an appointment here.