Are We Calm Yet? Thoughts for Thanksgiving

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To say that 2020 has been a commentary right out of the Twilight Zone years is to say that the moon is made of Swiss cheese, well, maybe this is the year we find out it really is!

“I can’t believe I stayed up and screamed Happy New Year 2020! All for this mess.”

In 2020, anything unimaginable could and did happen. Every time we thought we heard something that made our jaw drop, by the time we bent over to pick it up, we were down again to replace it to its rightful place. Maybe we should have just left it down there. It has been beyond exhausting. We are all spent and can’t wait for 2021.

“So far 2020 is like looking both ways before crossing the street and then getting hit by a plane!”

The biggest issue for us in 2020 is the virus. It has kept us indoors, away from our families, many of us had to stop working, loss of income, loss of connection to the outside world and the close, warm bond with our people.

“What do I do today? Find ways to get through the day.”

“People. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” A familiar opening line to an old tune. But how have we kept the bonds of our relationships alive when nothing much new is happening in our bubbles? Much of what is “new” is what we see on TV and social media and the “new” in the 2020 news has mostly been bad. So how much has there been to share with others? No one is going anywhere exciting other than a few doctor appointments and the essential errands, which leads to little sharing of information that sounds even worthy to talk about, “Can you believe there was no toilet paper?”

“Based on 2020 thus far, I’m expecting the flying monkeys of Oz to show up any time soon!”

It seems after chatting about, “How do you feel?,” the daily COVID updates, the antics of the current administration, info about our families, where conversations often turn to same-old-same-old gossip, “Can you believe he/she said that?” then a lull, followed by, “Well, that’s all I got today. Maybe I’ll have more to talk about tomorrow!” The reluctancy to end conversations almost hurts, but how many are willing to share/hear about personal frustrations when we already know everyone is feeling some degrees of frustration, fear, anger, unhappiness, boredom; feel free to add more feelings.

“I don’t want to brag but I haven’t had a mood swing in 7 minutes!”

In the midst of considering so much information these days, I was wondering if any good can come from this experience of quarantine, which could go on for more time than we realize and want. I was struck by what has come to be natural, like the wearing of masks, not going out to eat, not getting hugs from loved ones, not taking those vacations or having a carefree day outdoors. What will it take to emotionally to go back to all those, what are now, seemingly, luxuries? Will we feel safe outside, in the company of others, in a restaurant or movie theater? How about something as simple as shaking hands?

“Ripping off your mask when you get back in the car is the new taking off your bra when you get home!”

To say 2020 has aged us, might be an understatement. We have missed out on almost a year and as Baby Boomers, that is unnerving. Sharing photos with friends via texts has made evident how some have over/under eaten, let their hair go gray or unusually long because they can’t get to hair salons, used little moisturizing creams, forgot about exercising, while chalking it up to, “I’m not adding this year to my age, I didn’t use it!”  There will be next year to make up for this year.

“My greatest fear is looking back and thinking ‘I could have eaten that! Oh, well, I’ll add three more blocks to my walk after I get the vaccine.’ ”

The exciting news of the week was the possibility of a vaccine coming by spring of 2021. How much hope do we feel with that news? Does our old life feel closer? Does that news help us envision a light at the end of a very dark 2020 tunnel? Can it bring us calm and hope? Hopefully, inherent in hope is calm.

My family has been pondering over our Thanksgiving plans. We have not been together but 3 times, masked and social distanced in a park, for the past eight months, and that only happened in the past six weeks. We have not even been to my son’s new house he moved into at the end of March and that is so painful for us. Our Thanksgiving plan has been to have an early afternoon meal, while the weather is still okay, in my son’s front yard, which is private and quite large. We will spread out tables for each one of my children and their kids, abiding by all the rules of food serving. Luckily, he has an outside door to a bathroom so no one has to go through the house.

But, as we have seen the COVID numbers rise this week, we are rethinking Thanksgiving. We are trying to convince ourselves, “It’s just a dinner,”
though we know it’s more than that. But NONE OF US is willing to chance a dinner for what could have vital consequences, regardless of us knowing how small our bubbles are.

So I’d like to share our most current plans that you may consider to share with your family and friends:

Each of us is going to prepare a side dish or dessert to share with each other. Each dish will be put in a disposable container and on Thanksgiving morning, we will meet in our meeting place at the park and exchange our special foods. At a designated time later in the day, we will ZOOM our Thanksgiving dinner and eat together, plus share our tradition of telling what each of us is thankful for. Then at a later time, we are inviting other family and friends to join in our ZOOM party for dessert. As this year has been so different, so will our Thanksgiving. Safe and different.

With the grace of G-d, more Americans will start to be more vigilant about the virus, protect themselves, their family and neighbors and we will become a more caring America by becoming more aware of the dangers of this virus. As Americans we must do better. Be better. So America can be better. And, hopefully, our new administration will offer calm. This is my prayer for our country on Thanksgiving.

I did some research and asked a few people what good they have found during 2020. Though we all wish 2020 had been as vibrant as Barbara Walters used to express years ago, I hope we can take the good with the bad and find some calm within ourselves for a healthier future and feel a confident calm when we finally can say, “This is 2021!”

Some positives expressed about 2020:

-Gas costs less…

-Less traffic…

-The air is cleaner…

-Kids are spending more time with their families…

-Parents are home interacting more with their children…

-Family interactions, games and conversations have increased…

-Home cooked meals have become more important, less fast foods…

-Working at home is okay…

-People are more aware of health and cleanliness…

-Crazy schedules are gone, quiet time is okay…

-More time to do things you never had time to do…

-The world is quieter…

-We are living on less…

-Scientists, researchers, doctors, nurses and care-takers are being recognized for all their hard work

-There is more time to smell the roses…

“I’m going to stay up on New Year’s Eve this year. Not to see the new year in, but to make sure this one leaves!”

Blessings for a healthy, safe and delicious 2020 different Thanksgiving….Be calm and enjoy the meaning of Thanksgiving….Sandy

 

About Sandra Taradash
As a Baby Boomer Bubbe who still feels 18 but has four grand kids to prove this is the 21 Century, Sandra writes to leave a legacy for the next generations. Her belief that these precious kids need to know their cultural and family's past in order for them to live their future is all the muse she needs! She has a Master's Degree in Psychology and Cross Cultural studies, has written a family history, personal memoir and is completing her first novel. Her grandmother's journey to America and life is her source for her deep belief and love for Judaism.

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