Tis the Night Before Everything Needs to Be Cooked or Else People Will Be Very Disappointed in You…

To get into the spirit, I am watching cheesy holiday movies on Lifetime and scouring Facebook for kitchen activity. There are vegan orange creamsicles in the freezer, all kinds of Fresh Direct items in the fridge, and a bottle of sparkling rose waiting for me…whenever the Typhoid?Sinus infection?That other thing?Common Cold leaves my body. I am sick but feeling the joy of the season–when I’m not coughing up my lungs.

Because my family (mostly me and my brother) has a history of being sick on Big Occasions, I don’t think lightning will strike me. In these COVID times, it’s better to stay home than infect others. If I were where I had planned to be, I’d be lying on a guest bed with the door shut. I might have jinxed this Thanksgiving with my post from a few days ago. Despite this, I am choosing to remember with fondness times when sickness played a part in the holidays.

We had many Christmases when either my brother (Christmas is his birthday) or I would be staring feverishly into space while everyone else was celebrating the birth of Jesus and Patrick. Sometimes, I’d get a whiff of Patrick’s sick vibes and would feel a little queasy myself. This lasted into adulthood. Soon after I moved to Manhattan, Patrick came to his birthday dinner feeling “fluish” and, while I kept an eye on him, I secretly wondered if I might be sick, too. The second he went to lie down in another room and because I thought he might eventually develop stomach flu and be barfing his brains out, I stopped eating and made lame excuses to my mother, skedaddled my butt right home. Patrick admitted years later that he’d had a hangover and not flu. Damn him!

My fifteenth birthday gala was marked by me doubled over with gastritis at the family meal. It was in Cape Cod, and the third time something bad had happened to me there so I’ve never returned to the breathtaking haven that normal people enjoy. It’s possible my 500-calorie diet and pack-a-day habit contributed to my stomach issues.

Then there was the time my high school BFF named me her Maid of Honor and on the wedding day, I developed strep throat, suddenly massive sandpaper hell strep throat. Somehow I made it through the ceremony (almost fainted). But at the reception, I did spend most of the time with my head on the table. In the pictures, I still look fresh as a daisy, the magic of being 25.

Sam made one cameo sick disappearance on my birthday when he caught strep and had to confine himself. You can tell Sam is sick when he wants nothing to do with you. It’s a bit shocking since, as we know, he’s friendly as can be. Not when he feels bad. Just close the door and go about your life.

So maybe you can’t be 100% there for every occasion. At least for me, there’s comfort in knowing my loved ones will be having fun…and hopefully, the pumpkin stuff will exist for another couple of weeks.


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