But our secure little pods developed leaks whenever our adult children had responsibilities that exposed them to risk. A daughter who’s a lawyer spent days in hearings at the courthouse where someone was infected. Eliza’s mom, a pastor, is back at church, singing with her congregation. One son, who’s an EMT, now swabs suspected Covid patients at an urgent care center.

Now, as I string Thanksgiving garlands across the mantle and pull the straw pilgrims out of their boxes, I face the depressing reality that no one else will be in our home for the holidays. By Thanksgiving, our Covid bubble will have popped.

Even when it worked, when small pods of us had our groceries delivered and worked from home, the waltzing in and out of each other’s bubbles created stress. When does a leak require a confession?

“Your nanny goes to the college with the Covid outbreak?”

“Are you wiping down your groceries, Mom?”

“Your husband is meeting clients in person?”

Someone tumbles out of the bubble, and suddenly, icy walls separate family members. You’re in and then you’re out.

We all want off the Covid-coaster we’ve been riding: dropping our guard when cases slide into the yellow zone, upping our vigilance when infections rocket back into the red zone, where they are now.

I posted the color-coded risk scale on my refrigerator, so that when I’m tempted to meet with friends or hug a grandchild, I can rehearse the latest warnings:

No restaurants, haircuts, manicures or teeth cleanings. And now … no holiday gatherings.

Few people in my circle follow Anthony Fauci’s guidelines or CDC recommendations. It’s made me wonder, “Am I the one who’s crazy?” Or have we so blurred the lines between fantasy and reality that some of us have forgotten that Narnia is cursed … that Thanksgiving and Christmas in a pandemic spell disaster.

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