Disappointments in the Holidays

December 19 is my daughter’s birthday and December 25 is of course Christmas. The plan is that my son will fly in on the 19th. We are texting back and forth about who will pick up my daughter from the airport.

Logistics are important because we have planned to have a surprise birthday party for her. We need to keep her away from the apartment while decorations are made and people gather. He texts “we’ll see…” and explains that he has received a positive result from a home Covid test. He says that home Covid tests are unreliable and that he will do a test at an urgent care center in the morning. He says he will do the kind where he gets the results back in two hours. He is living on the other side of the continent, 3 hours ahead of me.

I wake up at 7 o’clock to a text from my son saying that he has tested positive for Covid. I call immediately. Sure enough he can’t come for Christmas. Fact is, even though all he has is a runny nose, you can’t get on a plane with a positive Covid test.

Quick to respond, I get all the presents out from under the tree to the post office within a matter of hours.

Later in the day, as I am driving to my elderly friends house in the country, I receive several texts from my daughter’s best friend. We have been texting quite a lot in the last week planning the surprise party. It is a lot of fun planning it and we have gotten closer doing it. Of course when driving on a highway I can’t read a text. I have to say “Siri, read me the latest text” and then I have to dictate an answer and I have to hope that auto incorrect hasn’t messed it up so badly that it is not understandable.

The text conversation on the highway is all about how my daughter has managed to plan her own birthday party. She has invited everybody she likes out to dinner on Saturday night. The people who can’t come to that, she invites to a picnic in the park on Sunday. Julia explains to me that to have the party on Sunday would be redundant as it would be the same people.

My daughter has an important stressful job where she works hard and she is not going to like having a repeat party so the Sunday night surprise party needs to be canceled, and it is.

However I have ordered ahead and bought a $50 very fancy cake that is my children’s favorite. I manage to get the cake to Julia so the young ones can enjoy it at dinner on Saturday night and at the picnic in the park on Sunday.

Before I give it to her, I slice off a little bit for myself and her father and her to have at the simple birthday dinner Sunday night (which was to be the decoy before the big party). I also slice off a piece for my son who can’t come for Christmas. It is cold out and it is colder in New York so I figure it will travel well.