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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.

Opinion

Bittersweet thanks

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

This past weekend, Gideon and I made some tough decisions. We canceled our Thanksgiving plans with friends, opting to celebrate the holiday just the two of us. Then during a talk with my mom, I decided to cancel Christmas, too. To put it eloquently, this sucks.

I expected that we wouldnít travel over the holidays because of the pandemic, but setting it in stone really hurt. It hurt more than I thought it would. Iíve spent the past few months managing expectations and preparing myself for the inevitable. I knew deep down I wouldnít see my family until 2021 at the earliest. Iíve known that for months. Still, I teared up when I told Gideon that we canceled Christmas.

We only see my family around three times a year, and Christmas is always one of those times. I usually take off a full week around Christmas so we can spend time with my family in Texas and have a little time to ourselves at home, too. This year, weíll probably mail one another gifts and open them over a video call. So many of you will understand when I say this: A video call does not suffice. It is not a stand-in for any kind of affection youíd feel in person. Unfortunately, itís our only option right now.

Despite all the sadness, I am starting this week feeling thankful for so many things. Gideon and I have not had COVID-19, and none of our family or friends have either. We are all taking safety precautions ó wearing a mask everywhere we go and keeping distance from others ó and I strongly believe thatís what has kept us healthy over the past nine months. Thatís why we canít see one another over the holidays, so itís certainly bittersweet.

When I talked with my mom on Saturday, she was so understanding of my decision. Thatís another thing Iím thankful for. The pandemic has torn some families apart because of differing views on how to keep safe. I have friends who have canceled plans with their families, and they werenít met with much understanding at all.

I am so thankful that my family understands this is what we have to do to stay safe. They know that not seeing one another is the best way to show we care right now. Weíll have plenty of time to spend together once this is all over, and then we wonít have to worry about losing those we love. I keep reminding myself you canít celebrate any holiday with a family member who dies of COVID-19. Itís become almost a daily mantra.

Gideon called my nana last week to get her cornbread dressing recipe to ensure that Thanksgiving wonít lose all its familiar comforts. Forgive me for gushing, but Gideon is the biggest thing I am thankful for. We have built a beautiful life together and it keeps getting better. He works so hard to understand and support me. He is kind, caring and a wonderful cat dad.

And of course, I am always thankful for all of you who read my column. I am wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, however different it is from the Thanksgiving you are used to. Life is what we make it, and we can make this not-so-normal holiday feel special if we decide to.

Iím hoping thatís what you decide, and Iím keeping you and your family in my thoughts.