As we bound into the second year of the pandemic, with numbers fluctuating but still high in most places in the U.S. (including Houston), we’re looking at year two of missing out on “normal things.” I have missed birthday celebrations and family get-togethers, girls’ night out and brunch dates, meetings with clients and lunching with friends, and so much more.
I missed the birth of my niece. For all of my nieces and nephews, my siblings’ children, I was at the hospital and was one of the first people to welcome them into the world. This time it took weeks before I saw her in person. Weeks that I missed. And though many might consider that a small inconvenience, it’s the thing that will stick in my memory as the one thing I most regret.
Cinco de Mayo is next week. In Houston, this usually would mean a big parade in addition to festivals, events, parties, and other faux-holiday celebrations. The parties seem to have made it back into our daily lives (judging by the ads and announcements). Many bars and restaurants will be holding some kind of Cinco de Mayo event. Even Miller Outdoor Theatre is holding a performance. The only thing missing, I think, will be the parade.
Are we having a parade in Houston? I don’t think so. Will we miss having a parade? I don’t know. What I do know is that I miss having the option of a parade. I miss being able to be casual about where I go, who I sit next to, and what I do.
If I were willing to throw caution to the wind, I could enjoy a life that’s closer to my “normal.” I could meet up with friends for drinks or dinner. I could join the Cinco de Mayo celebrations at crowded bars and restaurants. I could mix and mingle with people I don’t know, in poorly-ventilated rooms, and have fun. I could gamble with my health and leave it up to chance whether or not I make it out of this pandemic relatively unscathed.
Even though I am fully vaccinated, I can’t bring myself to do that. And some will tell me that I’m living in fear — and I’ll admit that they’re at least a little bit right. But it’s a fear that’s based in reality.
Do I miss the parades? Yes, but not enough to go into one even if it were being held.