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If it is safe and we are able to, we are planning to drive from the midwest to FL for Christmas. We have risk factors in the family and have been very cautious throughout this whole thing. My sister and dh are NOT; they had covid in the summer, but their kids didn't (as far as we know). They are having a large gathering for Thanksgiving, like 20-30 people with no masks or distancing. This effectively leaves my parents excluded because they are also cautious.

My dh and I want to ask my sister and her dh to be cautious for our sakes before Christmas. I have little hope they will - they are very involved at church and are there twice a week, and in small groups too. Our family Christmas is usually everyone together for a week or more at my parents' place. All of us is 7 adults and 7 kids and 5 dogs, so pretty crazy busy. 

I thought if I find the right words maybe that will help, so I'd like your opinions.

I'm hoping they can agree to keeping the kids out of activities and limit their interactions for a week to 10 days before we see them. It's impossible to expect our kids to stay distanced if we see them. 

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IME, one can say what one wants, but the reality of the behaviors will be what they are.

This summer, as we were evacuating, we asked family to stay home. Most did, one didn’t. She had stopped seeing friends, but kept doing one-off trips—to stores, to restaurants, etc. The reality is she exposed us to all of her neighbors (they were getting together nightly), everyone at the stores and restaurants, and everywhere else she went. 
 

Are you prepared to take the risks even if they don’t stay separated (or lie about doing so)? If the answer is no, then think before you start the conversation.

On my end, it went like this, “We have been isolating on doctor’s orders since March. We haven’t seen friends, eaten in restaurants, or shopped inside stores. I know you guys have been a bit more relaxed, but it would be really bad for me if I got Covid. Would you guys be willing to shelter in for a week before we came? That would look like x,y,z. I think that would be our best bet for keeping me safe. If not, I understand, but I need to know upfront...”

ETA: edited to add a skipped word (know)...distracted while typing....

 

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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11 minutes ago, sangtarah said:

If it is safe and we are able to, we are planning to drive from the midwest to FL for Christmas. We have risk factors in the family and have been very cautious throughout this whole thing. My sister and dh are NOT; they had covid in the summer, but their kids didn't (as far as we know). They are having a large gathering for Thanksgiving, like 20-30 people with no masks or distancing. This effectively leaves my parents excluded because they are also cautious.

My dh and I want to ask my sister and her dh to be cautious for our sakes before Christmas. I have little hope they will - they are very involved at church and are there twice a week, and in small groups too. Our family Christmas is usually everyone together for a week or more at my parents' place. All of us is 7 adults and 7 kids and 5 dogs, so pretty crazy busy. 

I thought if I find the right words maybe that will help, so I'd like your opinions.

I'm hoping they can agree to keeping the kids out of activities and limit their interactions for a week to 10 days before we see them. It's impossible to expect our kids to stay distanced if we see them. 

I'm not sure you can trust them to quarantine even if they say they will.  

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You probably won’t like my reply, but I don’t see how they can have a 20-30 person gathering, presumably indoors, for TG be significantly safer by having their kids not do activities. 
 

I think you have to decide whether or not you want to take the risk of going. If you do, I would do all the things you can to boost your own family’s immune systems. 

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4 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Are you prepared to take the risks even if they don’t stay separated (or lie about doing so)? If the answer is no, then think before you start the conversation.

On my end, it went like this, “We have been isolating on doctor’s orders since March. We haven’t seen friends, eaten in restaurants, or shopped inside stores. I know you guys have been a bit more relaxed, but it would be really bad for me if I got Covid. Would you guys be willing to shelter in for a week before we came? That would look like x,y,z. I think that would be our best bet for keeping me safe. If not, I understand, but I need to upfront...”

 

We haven't decided if the risk is worth it. A few years ago, a random chest cold in their kid caused ours to be hospitalized for a week. It would be heartbreaking to not travel. It would be heartbreaking to ask them not to see us (in fact, it isn't our house, so I can't really do that anyway). SO, I am hoping I won't have to make that decision and they will be understanding. Thanks for the wording!

 

3 minutes ago, Pen said:


You probably won’t like my reply, but I don’t see how they can have a 20-30 person gathering, presumably indoors, for TG be significantly safer by having their kids not do activities. 
 

I think you have to decide whether or not you want to take the risk of going. If you do, I would do all the things you can to boost your own family’s immune systems. 

We will not be there for TG, only Christmas. TG was just an illustration of their outlook, activities, etc. 

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It’s been a pretty heartbreaking year all the way around. 
 

I realized for my sanity that I needed to not take this personally....that each was hopefully trying to do the best they could with getting through the pandemic based on their circumstances....and where actions felt selfish to me, I needed to let go and accept reality with grace. 
 

I hope that whatever you decide and whatever happens that you can be at peace with it all. Hugs. It’s a hard year.

 

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Gently, it's not safe to travel, you know that.  Cases are spiking all over the country; Christmas won't suddenly be better.

I know you want to see them.  I don't think you can and remain safe.

What you want them to do is asking a lot.  We all have found our ways of surviving this pandemic, physical AND mental health intact.  Church, for instance, is absolutely necessary to my family's mental health.  We do mask, but we wouldn't stop going.

I know it is painful, but it is not a good idea.  Stay home.  Plan a trip for next year.

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26 minutes ago, sangtarah said:

We haven't decided if the risk is worth it. A few years ago, a random chest cold in their kid caused ours to be hospitalized for a week.

 

 

26 minutes ago, sangtarah said:

 

We will not be there for TG, only Christmas. TG was just an illustration of their outlook, activities, etc. 

 

though I misunderstood the connection between TG and Christmas, random chest cold to hospitalization sounds like too high risk.

possibly if you said you are deciding whether or not to visit they would offer more safety, but it still might not be safe enough - even the travel part

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53 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

IME, one can say what one wants, but the reality of the behaviors will be what they are.

 

I think it's fair and right to cancel plans or just make plans with the parents.  I think it's unrealistic to expect people will make changes on your behalf while readying for a party of 30 - even though, and let me emphasize, you are being REASONABLE.  What I'm really saying is, if they give you lip service, will you trust it?

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30 minutes ago, perky said:

Gently, it's not safe to travel, you know that.  Cases are spiking all over the country; Christmas won't suddenly be better.

I know you want to see them.  I don't think you can and remain safe.

What you want them to do is asking a lot.  We all have found our ways of surviving this pandemic, physical AND mental health intact.  Church, for instance, is absolutely necessary to my family's mental health.  We do mask, but we wouldn't stop going.

I know it is painful, but it is not a good idea.  Stay home.  Plan a trip for next year.

 

3 minutes ago, happi duck said:

I honestly don't think anyone should travel or mix households indoors at all.

 

 

Both of these. You know the right thing to do.

We decided very early on that we would not host family or friends this year, or visit anyone no matter how much whining they performed (hello in laws). Honestly, it’s made it pretty easy for us because we are unwavering in our response to every request. Not.this.year. Full stop. Does it suck? Yeah, of course. But we refuse to question our decision or our approach and we don’t allow anyone to pressure us. Keeps it simple (admittedly different than easy) and less stressful.

Good luck. This is tough on everyone. 😞 

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The people who aren't cautious just don't view risk through the same lens cautious people do.  And as you can see on this thread, cautious is in the eye of the beholder. So, I think it's unrealistic to expect a conversation to change their minds or behaviors.  I would also not trust anyone who uses a different lens to be capable of assessing their behaviors in the same way I would. In order to do that your definitions of risk, cautious, truth, science, and other ideas would have to be in alignment.  That isn't at all the case based on what I think I understand from your post.

Why just 1 week to 10 days?  Isn't it 14 days for a quarantine to make sure you don't have it?  And wouldn't that only apply to symptomatic carriers? Wouldn't an asymptomatic carrier still spread it without knowing it unless they were tested in a timely way?

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Personally I have learned that I really can't trust other people when they say they will be careful. People say they are being careful but still going to small parties/church without modifications/etc. They could be wrong in their risk assesment or straight up untruthful. I think I've encountered both. 

I also don't see people who have not been very careful so far to change their behavior now. I think people have settled into what they are comfortable with and have made all the justifications they need to.

If these people are the type to hear you and lovingly adjust their behavior you have awesome relatives!

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3 hours ago, Terabith said:

I'm not sure you can trust them to quarantine even if they say they will.  

Agreed.  

And rates are going to be so much higher after Thanksgiving.  I just read over the weekend there were 3 million Americans at the airport.  

I saw a new thing that said if you want to see your family next Christmas and Thanksgiving, don't see them this year.   We are so close.  Don't risk it.   I am planning on celebrating all the holidays with family next year.  

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4 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Agreed.  

And rates are going to be so much higher after Thanksgiving.  I just read over the weekend there were 3 million Americans at the airport.  

I saw a new thing that said if you want to see your family next Christmas and Thanksgiving, don't see them this year.   We are so close.  Don't risk it.   I am planning on celebrating all the holidays with family next year.  

I just want to ask that you not shame everyone who gets together.  For some families, they know it’s the last Thanksgiving or Christmas with a relative.  Please let them have that time in peace.  Some of us didn’t even get that because of Covid.  My children and I saw my fil last at Christmas last year.  His health had declined to the point that we were going regardless of Covid this past Tuesday.  He passed on Sunday before we could go.  Thankfully dh had been to stay with him in the hospital 2 weeks before.  We would give anything to have one last holiday with him.  Not everyone’s situation is the same.

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2 minutes ago, athena1277 said:

I just want to ask that you not shame everyone who gets together.  For some families, they know it’s the last Thanksgiving or Christmas with a relative.  Please let them have that time in peace.  Some of us didn’t even get that because of Covid.  My children and I saw my fil last at Christmas last year.  His health had declined to the point that we were going regardless of Covid this past Tuesday.  He passed on Sunday before we could go.  Thankfully dh had been to stay with him in the hospital 2 weeks before.  We would give anything to have one last holiday with him.  Not everyone’s situation is the same.

In that situation, going is the right call.  Totally get why you would decide that.  I would do the same.  I am sorry for your loss.  

Since the OP didn't provide details like that, I gave the thoughts that I was thinking.  

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I would not trust them. If they say, “Yes, we can quarantine for you!” they won’t do it correctly.

It would mean they can’t do ANYTHING for 10-14 days. At most, they can get groceries, as long as they mask very, very well while at the store. 

They can’t go to work, they can’t go to church, they can’t see any friends (kids or adults) for two weeks, they can’t go browsing for clothes at Kohl’s, they can’t do any activity (music, sport, whatever), they can’t go to any Christmas gatherings. 

Nothing.

And if they don’t take things seriously right now, they won’t understand that they can’t do *anything*.  They’ll end up going to church and being sloppy with the masks and think, “Well, surely we can go to church!” or they’ll go to “just a little gathering” with friends for a Christmas tea. They won’t understand that doing nothing means doing NOTHING. They’ll think, “But it was just one little thing! There were only 5 other people there!”

If you simply must ask them to quarantine, then don’t say, “Are you willing...”. Say, “Are you able...”.

For them to have to say, “No, I’m not willing!” makes them out to be jerks and they’ll resent you for wording it that way and making them be jerks.  But if they have to say, “No, we’re not able to because Junior has a concert he has to perform in,” then they aren’t jerks.

Edited by Garga
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5 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

The people who aren't cautious just don't view risk through the same lens cautious people do.  ....  I would also not trust anyone who uses a different lens to be capable of assessing their behaviors in the same way I would. 

I agree with this.

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re where we are now, vs just last month

8 hours ago, happi duck said:

I honestly don't think anyone should travel or mix households indoors at all.

Sigh.

We really did believe we'd be able to re-integrate two kids back from their schools on break, and our eldest in NYC, AND my brother's family 35 minutes away from us, AND my mother by a scrupulous regimen combining prior quarantine / PCR testing / post-test quarantine while waiting for results... for every single one of us ... and then all come together for a long IRL visit in my house.

Everyone agreed to what "quarantine" meant, everyone found a testing location, my husband drew up a schedule, everyone agreed to the schedule, it was a Good Plan.  As good as it gets. 

And then just in the last two weeks it all fell apart. Self-referred PCR test sites that were walk-in two weeks ago are now taking 5-6 hours in line. Results that were taking 12-48 hours in different locations. My mother's independent living facility no longer accepts another negative PCR test on the back end for re-entry; she'd need to quarantine for 14 days on the other side as well.

And so with immense sadness we called it off.  The younger kids are home from school-- there were no options but for them to do so, they were kicked out of the dorms. And we all still got tested (though only my younger has gotten results back -- the labs are backlogged again).

But no travel and no mixing households.

It sucks.

 

Very thankful for vaccines under way.  It's good to have that promise at this otherwise dark time. A light at the end of the tunnel.

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Quote

If you simply must ask them to quarantine, then don’t say, “Are you willing...”. Say, “Are you able...”.

For them to have to say, “No, I’m not willing!” makes them out to be jerks and they’ll resent you for wording it that way and making them be jerks.  But if they have to say, “No, we’re not able to because Junior has a concert he has to perform in,” then they aren’t jerks.

for wording, this sounds like best wording

 

maybe you could spend Christmas with cautious parents this year

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2 hours ago, athena1277 said:

I just want to ask that you not shame everyone who gets together.  For some families, they know it’s the last Thanksgiving or Christmas with a relative.  Please let them have that time in peace.  Some of us didn’t even get that because of Covid.  My children and I saw my fil last at Christmas last year.  His health had declined to the point that we were going regardless of Covid this past Tuesday.  He passed on Sunday before we could go.  Thankfully dh had been to stay with him in the hospital 2 weeks before.  We would give anything to have one last holiday with him.  Not everyone’s situation is the same.

Yes there are definitely situations where seeing loved ones is the right thing to do regardless if at all possible.    I’m so sorry for the loss of your father in law without being able to see him.

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Take my advise with a pinch of salt, feel free to ignore it if you want: Don't bother talking to them about this. Don't trust the people who will not mask at indoor gatherings even if they say that they will respect your request and stay isolated for 10 days out of deep consideration to your family (actually they need to isolate for 14 days because many people develop symptoms on the 11th day of exposure). If your parents and your family have high risks, it is no use gambling your health and survival on the decisions and promises of people who do not believe that this virus requires caution.

This year has taught many that they have to endure some kinds of heartbreak in order to prevent even worse heartbreak. With the exposure from lots of travel and indoor celebrations during thanksgiving all over the country (and also in Florida), I am expecting that hospitals will be full by Christmas. Not worth traveling if you are concerned about your health. Sorry, I could not find a gentler way to say this.

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re aftermath of Thanksgiving

8 hours ago, mathnerd said:

... With the exposure from lots of travel and indoor celebrations during thanksgiving all over the country (and also in Florida), I am expecting that hospitals will be full by Christmas. Not worth traveling if you are concerned about your health. Sorry, I could not find a gentler way to say this.

Everywhere.

(The nationwide total for COVID hospitalizations has already broken records on each of the last fourteen consecutive days. It doesn't feel quite as desperate as it did back in April only because the overruns are more distributed. But with massive travel AHEAD of this point in time, and many gatherings AHEAD of this point in time, hospitalizations are going to spike further from the current record-busting spike over the next 2-4 weeks.)

That is what has hospital administrators and public health officials going out of their minds right now. Because you can see the train coming.

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Would first talking with your parents about concerns  help? If their home is involved they may have their own concerns. Or may already have assurances about precautions.
 

Presumably all the children are their grandchildren. And they may know if the other grandchildren already had Covid and might be relatively immune now. 

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OP here.

Thanks for all the concerns. We still don’t know if we will try to drive. But my sister will stay home and keep kids home for 10 days before we see them, so that is a relief! (If we go) 

Part of our motivation is mental health for our household, as well as a holiday. But there is a very long list against travel, we know that. 

One factor in all this is my parents insistence on coming to us if we cannot come to them, unless we forbid it. 

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1 hour ago, sangtarah said:

OP here.

Thanks for all the concerns. We still don’t know if we will try to drive. But my sister will stay home and keep kids home for 10 days before we see them, so that is a relief! (If we go) 

Part of our motivation is mental health for our household, as well as a holiday. But there is a very long list against travel, we know that. 

One factor in all this is my parents insistence on coming to us if we cannot come to them, unless we forbid it. 

I totally understand this. With a deep family history of depression and anxiety, we've had to carefully evaluate some things,

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I say resign yourself to not gathering.  Your sister won't quarantine for two weeks.  She hasn't been living that way and she won't start now.  The cases will skyrocket after Thanksgiving.  If you make alternative plans now and embrace them it doesn't have to be "heartbreaking" to spend the holidays with your nuclear family.  I get missing everyone.  I do.  My mother drove from WV to my sister's hour in FL yesterday.  We're going to miss the fun, but we have a fragile kid and it's not worth him being alone in a hospital and possibly not coming home.  One day this will be over and I want EVERYBODY around to celebrate later.

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On 11/24/2020 at 8:50 AM, sangtarah said:

OP here.

Thanks for all the concerns. We still don’t know if we will try to drive. But my sister will stay home and keep kids home for 10 days before we see them, so that is a relief! (If we go) 

Part of our motivation is mental health for our household, as well as a holiday. But there is a very long list against travel, we know that. 

One factor in all this is my parents insistence on coming to us if we cannot come to them, unless we forbid it. 

I'm less militant than others around here. Glad you ended up with an acceptable outcome!

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57 minutes ago, sassenach said:

I'm less militant than others around here. Glad you ended up with an acceptable outcome!

I really haven't heard "militant" from anyone on this thread. The OP asked for feedback; folks offered up a range of respective takes.  Even if you feel like your own take is on the end of the range (which is FINE), that doesn't render other places on the range "militant."  Just different.

This time is hard. These navigations are hard.

 

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On 11/24/2020 at 8:50 AM, sangtarah said:

One factor in all this is my parents insistence on coming to us if we cannot come to them, unless we forbid it. 

 

Maybe them going to you would be better —who is most at risk from travel?

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On 11/23/2020 at 3:56 PM, mommyoffive said:

 

And rates are going to be so much higher after Thanksgiving.  I just read over the weekend there were 3 million Americans at the airport.  

 

Are you talking about 3 million Americans flying? I think whatever you read was exaggerating.  TSA checkpoints showed 900,000 people flying yesterday (compared to 2.4 million people on the same day last year). It'll be interesting to see when they put up the numbers for today and tomorrow, but I would be absolutely shocked if it gets close to even 2 million. The total includes all that go through the TSA checkpoint, including flight crews. It hasn't been higher than 45% of last year since March, and even that's only in the recent weeks.  I watch it pretty often as DH is a pilot.

https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput

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6 hours ago, Pam in CT said:

I really haven't heard "militant" from anyone on this thread. The OP asked for feedback; folks offered up a range of respective takes.  Even if you feel like your own take is on the end of the range (which is FINE), that doesn't render other places on the range "militant."  Just different.

This time is hard. These navigations are hard.

 

I meant that based on the whole, not just this thread. If you are offended by the use of the word, all I can say is that it wasn't meant as a pejorative and I stand by its usage in this context. There are people on the boards who are militant about all things Covid. I am not. Sorry you took that as an attack, I was mostly trying to say "hey, that seems fine to me but I know that others won't think that any travel is a good plan." 

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re "militance"

33 minutes ago, sassenach said:

I meant that based on the whole, not just this thread. If you are offended by the use of the word, all I can say is that it wasn't meant as a pejorative and I stand by its usage in this context. There are people on the boards who are militant about all things Covid. I am not. Sorry you took that as an attack, I was mostly trying to say "hey, that seems fine to me but I know that others won't think that any travel is a good plan." 

Nah, not "offended;" didn't take it as an "attack."  Just can't see how the language of "militant," or "offended," or "attack" is helpful.

These times are hard. These navigations are hard. These conversations are hard. To the extent we can help each other in any small way, and hold one another up, and extend each other space, that seems to me to be better. Sometimes that entails dialing the language back a bit, rather than amping it up.

That's all.

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On 11/25/2020 at 7:01 PM, Pam in CT said:

re "militance"

Nah, not "offended;" didn't take it as an "attack."  Just can't see how the language of "militant," or "offended," or "attack" is helpful.

These times are hard. These navigations are hard. These conversations are hard. To the extent we can help each other in any small way, and hold one another up, and extend each other space, that seems to me to be better. Sometimes that entails dialing the language back a bit, rather than amping it up.

That's all.

Likewise, I don’t find it helpful or friendly  when one word of my 2 sentence reply to the OP gets picked apart. Nitpicking and taking easy offense is another way of creating unnecessarily adversarial spaces. I think it would have served us both, and anyone who has had to read these posts, if you had just scrolled on by. 

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Well, you guys were right. Sis and family have too many commitments and cannot skip them. Something almost every day until the week before Christmas, and then church the Sunday before Christmas. 
Dh and I have to decide what we want to do now. We have been “cleared” to ask them not to come to my parents house at all. Sis wants to have the kids together as much as possible, but I don’t see how we can do that. 😔
My parents are doing their best to stay healthy - dad has to work (mask required) and mom will go grocery shopping once or twice, maybe. My grandma lives with them, and she likes to get her hair done once a week. 

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On 11/23/2020 at 12:09 PM, sangtarah said:

If it is safe and we are able to, we are planning to drive from the midwest to FL for Christmas. We have risk factors in the family and have been very cautious throughout this whole thing. My sister and dh are NOT; they had covid in the summer, but their kids didn't (as far as we know). They are having a large gathering for Thanksgiving, like 20-30 people with no masks or distancing. This effectively leaves my parents excluded because they are also cautious.

My dh and I want to ask my sister and her dh to be cautious for our sakes before Christmas. I have little hope they will - they are very involved at church and are there twice a week, and in small groups too. Our family Christmas is usually everyone together for a week or more at my parents' place. All of us is 7 adults and 7 kids and 5 dogs, so pretty crazy busy. 

I thought if I find the right words maybe that will help, so I'd like your opinions.

I'm hoping they can agree to keeping the kids out of activities and limit their interactions for a week to 10 days before we see them. It's impossible to expect our kids to stay distanced if we see them. 

I would not expect relatives who have sharply divergent viewpoint from mine on covid precautions to accommodate a request to take precautions I recommended, nor would I make a planned visit contingent upon their honoring my request.  In other words, I would not make the trip at all due to risk factors in your family. 

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2 hours ago, sangtarah said:

Well, you guys were right. Sis and family have too many commitments and cannot skip them. Something almost every day until the week before Christmas, and then church the Sunday before Christmas. 
Dh and I have to decide what we want to do now. We have been “cleared” to ask them not to come to my parents house at all. Sis wants to have the kids together as much as possible, but I don’t see how we can do that. 😔
My parents are doing their best to stay healthy - dad has to work (mask required) and mom will go grocery shopping once or twice, maybe. My grandma lives with them, and she likes to get her hair done once a week. 

As much as it sucks, I am going to gently suggest you call off the trip and find a way to make a special Christmas at home with your family.  I think if you ask your sister's family to not come and they don't you will hear all week about how someone wishes everyone could be together like they do every year.  And if your sis and her family come, I just can't imagine feeling comfortable at all.    Add in the risk factors of the actual travel itself... what if you unknowingly pick up covid at a rest stop in Mississippi and expose your whole family?  I think it's just not worth it. 

It really is okay to take a year off in such an abnormal year like 2020.  Make some new, special memories and next year when you can return to "what we used to do"  it will be so much more special. 

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2 hours ago, sangtarah said:

Well, you guys were right. Sis and family have too many commitments and cannot skip them. Something almost every day until the week before Christmas, and then church the Sunday before Christmas. 
Dh and I have to decide what we want to do now. We have been “cleared” to ask them not to come to my parents house at all. Sis wants to have the kids together as much as possible, but I don’t see how we can do that. 😔
My parents are doing their best to stay healthy - dad has to work (mask required) and mom will go grocery shopping once or twice, maybe. My grandma lives with them, and she likes to get her hair done once a week. 

I wouldn’t make that long trip at this time, with your concerns.  I’d probably try to plan a Christmas in July gathering instead, and just enjoy a nice quiet and less stressful Christmas.

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