It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed is you. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Thanksgiving Text

"Mom, you're living in fear," My son texted in all caps.

"No, I am cautious and protective. Two qualities you love about me."

"Mom, you turned the garage into a living room. It's too much."

"It's perfect," I typed with fingerless gloves. "I'm sitting out here now. Super cozy for our Thanksgiving celebration."

"Wait. What? We are NOT having Thanksgiving in the garage, are we?"

"Dad and I moved all the comfy patio furniture into the garage. We have a table, chairs - even a t.v. with a Roku. You can watch football. I think it will be safer this way."

"Yeah, I saw the picture you sent. Looks great. But, I don't have any symptoms."

"Exactly. Let's keep it that way. And, let's keep you nonsymptomatic spreaders in the fresh air. No one knows what to do with the college kids when they come home. It's all over the news. I'm creative. It's something."

"Great problem-solving skills, Mom. But really? The garage?"

"Anything is safer than your just-returned-from-college friends sitting in the slow circulating air of our basement."

He sent the rolling eyes emoji.

I sent the shrugged hands in the air emoji.

"I'm bundled up in a blanket right now. It's perfect. Thanksgiving will be just us."

"What do you mean, just us?"

"No one wants to see you," I typed, then erased. 

"Your age group is too risky," I typed, then erased. 

"We love you, but back up," I typed, then erased. 

"Gram and Gramps can drive by and honk. Maybe pull in for a drive-thru turkey sandwich."

He sent the rolling eyes emoji.

I sighed.

"I can move the ping-pong table into the garage too. You can even put the Xbox out there. It's the safest solution."

"I suppose. Miss you."

"It's been a long four months. Miss you too. I bet you'll be glad to sleep in your bed."

"And eat a good meal, not cafeteria food."

"Any requests? Anything special from the store?"

Bubbles percolated.

"No, I just wish this was over, and we could see everyone and act normal."

"Yes, but it's up to you to keep us safe. It's up to us to keep the grandparents safe." 

"I know. I just hate to see you so afraid."

"Living in fear would be me curled up in a corner, not acknowledging the situation. Being afraid would mean you are sleeping in the garage."

I added a laughing face.

"You're kidding, right?"

"Yes, but there is a dog shower out there."

"Not funny," he texted in all caps.

"A little funny," I replied. "This is the best we can do with what we have."

"I was just thinking," the bubbles popped up.

"What?"

"I was thinking about cheesy potatoes."

I sent the laughing emoji and a thumbs up.

"Adding it to the list for Thanksgiving."

I sat on the patio furniture, curled up with a blanket, and looked around. Remnants of normalcy existed in the corners of the garage, a rake here, a snow shovel there. I wrote out the Thanksgiving grocery list, adding cheesy potatoes to the bottom.

 

This was anything but normal.

   

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