Changes, But Not All for the Worse

So, in the time of COVID, how will our holidays be different?

I can imagine that it has touched all of your celebrations, but take heart, with a story below.  If you need to be uplifted, feel free to skip down and read it.

Our family celebrations have been changing over the years anyway.

My parents always had an open-door policy. Relatives would come in from out-of-state, sometimes unannounced, knowing that they would be welcome. Any relatives that lived nearby always came, as well as friends, (and later, my sister’s in-laws).

Even when I got married and moved out-of-state, I made a good-sized meal, far more than we two needed.  But, as fate would have it, we had a sudden blizzard.  Everyone was snowbound.  Our retiree landlord and landlady who lived upstairs could not get out to their son’s, (nor could he and his family get through), so we took our meal upstairs. They pulled out their china and a bottle of wine and we  all had a wonderful time.

The next year my family moved to where we lived, and we started joining with them for the holidays.

When my kids were grown, we had dinner with my family, then a smaller one at my place later. Eventually, a few years after my mother died, we just had holidays at my house. Often friends of my sons would join us, especially some out-of-town fellow students who weren’t going home themselves.

My grandson, (now nearly 18), used to be in and out with his mother and her family, my granddaughters would also be in and out to their mother’s relatives’ places, but they came.

Now, Son #1 lives in another town and with his job, (firefighter/EMT), he isn’t always off on the day of the holiday; this year is a duty-day year. One daughter lives with him and they came in  yesterday for dinner on Christmas Eve. She then went to her mother’s where she would also be with her sister, so we drove there to drop off gifts and some specialty foods, (including my toffee for her mother; it’s her favorite and I never stopped trying to keep the peace).

For the last five years, Son #2 has lived mostly out-of-state, and only one year was here for the holidays. His oldest son didn’t get in for a couple of those, which was very hard on me. They are very far now and will not be here, but they, the daughter-in-law and the 11 month-old Grandson will be on the computer for a virtual visit. The Christmas goodies from me arrived there, as have the presents; I watched the little one open his first book, (a Christmas book from me), four nights ago; I am waiting to see him eat one of Grandma’s Christmas cookies.

How hard it would be without texting, calls and virtual visits.

For modern communications, I am most grateful.


One month shy of 27 years ago my husband, sons and I moved from Colorado to Kentucky.  As I wrote above, my family had followed us there ten years previously and had arrived just before our first son was born. As we were leaving her house to get into the car and the moving truck, my mother said, “This is hard; this is really hard, but I keep thinking of my own grandmother. She had to let my mother go across the ocean, taking her grandchildren, never to see them again and knowing there would be more that she would not see.  There was only an occasional letter. But we have the phone! We have pictures! We will see each other again. I can do this.”

I sent many pictures and we wrote; our phone bills were astronomical, but we talked. About 5 years later, they all moved to this area.

What Mom said stayed with me and carried me through when Teen Grandson first went to live with Son #2 out-of-state. I believed it was for the best, yet it was really hard on both of us. At 13, he had no problem using SKYPE, and we phoned, he texted. Now  he generally texts and we touch base almost every day. That corner of the family has moved several times and he was here between March and November of this year, so again, it was hard on me for him to leave and harder on him than he likes to admit! He actually got in on a video chat with his stepmom and 11-month old brother the other night.

 When I hear a video call come in, I know it is the Baby!

Unlike my great-grandmother, even though we were far apart, I saw some of the Little One’s first steps, saw him eat his first solid food, saw how quickly he picked up drinking from a straw. He makes kissy faces and puts his little head against the phone to as close as a hug as I can get, but I see him, I hear him.

This year has been hard on all of us, but let us be grateful for what we do have to try to keep ourselves and loved ones safe, and how we can be so much closer to them, to see them, to hear them, to blow kisses to, than any previous generation.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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8 Responses to Changes, But Not All for the Worse

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I love what your grandmother said… and that she had the wisdom to comprehend why she was so sad.
    Love the anecdote about taking the meal upstairs to the landlord. That could be its own Christmas short story.
    It’s terrific that you’ve adapted to the technology of the skype generation and can witness [be part of] some of the milestones in the lives of your kids & grandkids.
    Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was quite a story, Jeff. No one saw the blizzard coming,(just pre-Doppler). The mayor sent the city workers home early as a Christmas bonus, so by the time the storm was a problem, the workers could not get to the snowplows. I should at least tell the story in a blog. With just the landlords, well, it’s too short , the rest is kind of anti-climactic,( and I am not a Truman Capote)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    It has been difficult not seeing our kids and grandkids this Christmas, but as you say, electronic connections make it bearable. We WILL get through this! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and this is probably going to be a way of life for me with my grandsons, at least. Life changes. Family is not lost to us now. I tried very hard to track down the family of a cousin who was extremely important to my mother and her siblings growing up, but I hit dead-end after dead end. It’s a shame. The Teen Grandkids stay close now via Snapchat, etc. I love that they do.


  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    My family traditions have evolved over the years as well, but my people didn’t move; they died. I don’t have a single aunt or uncle left, and lots of my cousins are gone too. After my mother’s death is when Christmas landed on my shoulders. Merry Christmas, Tonette.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of the extended family in the previous is gone and has been; we were born into an older family. Even most of my cousins are now gone. My brother is in the nursing home and we’ll drop things off now that Joe can drive again in a day or so,but we can’t see him or leave perishable food. My niece was unwell, my great-nephew is on a special diet. It was never the same with family after my mother died,(18 yrs ago),but we tried to join and we played games.No more. I would have guests,I would have piano recitals, I would make cookie boxes for co-workers and Scout people…it is just all gone.This year, I am not particularly well but it would have been worse for me NOT to have baked some, made dinner and decorated fairly well. Merry Christmas, Elaine!


  4. Modern technology really does make being apart easier than previous generations had it. It would be so difficult to have family leave knowing you’d probably only get a few letters from them. I’m very thankful for cell phones and video chats.
    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

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