In our family, Hanukkah and Christmas—we celebrate both—were a big bummer, as the holidays probably were for most people. We celebrated with my parents in their freezing cold garage surrounded by rakes and oil stains. I cringed as my brother, clad in a K95 mask, came within six feet of my kids while handing out presents from his trunk. We bundled off our gifts and drove home after a couple of hours. We didn’t even eat any snacks! The one high point was borrowing a menorah that my dad made in Hebrew school circa 1961. It was grim.
Spring feels better. Passover is this weekend and Easter is the weekend after that, and we actually have tentative plans. My parents will come over on Saturday (we ordered one of the Clover Passover meal boxes because I’m lazy and it looked delicious). It’s supposed to be 60 degrees. We’ll sit outside because my parents are only half-vaccinated and we’re not vaccinated at all. But it feels like a small yet meaningful improvement.
It feels like a psychic improvement, too. I’m beginning to make plans—actual plans!—for my family this summer. In a season that celebrates rebirth and liberation, well, I feel liberated. Do you?
Here’s what I’m excited to do:
Send my kids to camp. Both of them are going because there still isn’t room at my 4-year-old’s daycare. So he’ll bundle off with his older brother (much to his brother’s amusement). The idea of having both of them out of the house for a solid eight hours per day seems almost unreal. I envision myself splayed across a divan, eating soft cheeses and filing my nails. (Or, you know, working without interruption.)
Enroll my kids in sports! My kids are playing sports like in days of yore. Soccer, baseball, T-ball, parkour. I’d sign them up for curling, cheese-rolling and polo if I could.
Travel without hyperventilating. Last year, we went to Cape Cod for a week and I literally drew a parameter around our family in the sand and snarled like a rabid animal at anyone who approached within a 12-foot radius. Sometimes we just packed up and fled if it got too crowded. I think this year will be slightly less traumatic.
Dine outside. Once my husband and I are vaccinated, we’ll feel comfortable dining al fresco. Maybe even before that, now that we know more about outdoor transmission. We’ve done tons of takeout (in my other life, I write about food, and it is our civic duty to support restaurants), but we haven’t actually been served, waited on or perused a menu at leisure since March 2020. The luxury!
Get vaccinated. I admit checking the sites now, even a few weeks before I’m eligible, just to suss out potential venues. An abandoned Circuit City on the North Shore? A Walgreens in an obscure western Massachusetts town? I will go anywhere.
Be among people. I am an extroverted introvert. I enjoy people, I am outgoing and friendly, but I also require time curled up in bed with my cozy mysteries and “Columbo” on Netflix. Wading back into normal life will be an adjustment—but also a healthy jolt. Last week, we took the kids to Bow Market in Somerville for empanadas, and it felt good just to see people—actual people!—out in the wild. It was a refreshing reminder of the persistence of humanity (even if we did have to eat in the car).
Send my kids back to school. They’re not going this year. My older one is fully remote, and yanking him out of his familiar classroom and placing him elsewhere—our town would possibly find room for him in a different school—seems silly. But I keep driving by our elementary school, picturing September drop-off and how good it will feel, how the muscle memory will come back—the rushing off at 8:10 a.m., the detour back home for a forgotten water bottle, the bottleneck on the sidewalk. I’m even looking forward to parallel parking in front of my younger one’s daycare at 5:29 p.m. and sprinting inside so I don’t get charged a late fee.
Visits! My mother-in-law is coming over April vacation for a few days. My kids have probably seen her for a total of 12 hours since last March. Right before the pandemic hit, we traveled to Florida, which ended up being a total fiasco as my husband came home with probable COVID and my younger son developed strep and a bizarre red rash. We were the only people on the plane wearing masks. Little did we know what would happen a week later. Anyway, she’s coming to visit, which will give my kids some degree of normalcy. (And might give us a change of pace, too—since literally nobody has been in our home in over a year. Guess I should clean.)
Go to Target. Yeah. I just want to wander the aisles, poring over face creams and nail polish. I want to take my time deciding between Tide or Mrs. Meyers. I want to languidly throw a few extra pairs of kids’ athletic socks into my cart and browse an US Weekly while waiting in line. Basically, I want to shop at a store without feeling like I’m being chased by Satan. You?
What are you excited for? How will you celebrate Passover? Let me know!