The Friday after Thanksgiving #clevercolette came down with a bug. Her need to be stationed in the bathroom delayed our return from the desert, but we got her stable enough to return and settle ourselves back in Torrance for the last few weeks of school before break. Then came the fatigue, the fever, the sore throat. The first week of December we masked up around #clevercolette because she had strep. The first Friday in December #wjlacour took his turn with the bag in front of his face, the fever and the sore throat. Surprise! Week 2 of masking at home trying to prevent strep from claiming more Lacours as victims. Strep took #wjlacour out for a full week, but he returned to school the last Monday of the semester, only to get an abdominal migraine the next day, the last on-campus day of the semester. 3 weeks into December, and I was trying to muster up the Christmas spirit of joy and gratitude. My playlist helped. Watching some of my favorite holiday movies didn’t help as much. The kids were home from school for the rest of the year, so it was time to get to our traditions. Movies, baking, decorating, gifting.

We’ve missed our tradition of going to Disneyland between Halloween and Christmas to excite us for the holidays–most effectively accomplished by The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion. #clevercolette had the opportunity to get her dose of Disney with her friend, so off she went with her on Wednesday. A full 14hrs in two parks. Thursday she was sore and exhausted, understably so. Friday the soreness and general malaise was worse, yet she had a tough conditioning practice for cheer, so again, somewhat understandable. Finally, we settled in for a family viewing of Elf, then came the “my eyes are stinging.” I felt her head, slightly warm but not too concerning. I asked @cleverdevil to go get a thermometer and a mask for me. An elevated temp registered for #clevercolette. With a little self-preservation distance created, I asked @cleverdevil to go get a Covid test for #clevercolette. An immediate positive. She ran downstairs to her room bawling in despair. She had “ruined Christmas” and she probably already got “everyone else sick” and now “Gigi and Papa will never be able to visit.”

We were prepared. We knew what to do. Everyone to your rooms. Mask when you come out. Make those trips out of your room short and sweet. Monitor symptoms. Test. I don’t need to rehash the chaos that ensued. So far @cleverdevil and I have been able to avoid infection while trying to keep distance and care for our Covid positive children and to celebrate Christmas with our family.

Christmas Eve looked different. No reservation at a Chinese restaurant and no candlelight service, not even virtual. In my plan-ahead disastrous thinking, I had already placed an order for pick up from our favorite soup dumpling restaurant. Covid positive Gigi and Papa were able to join Covid positive #clevercolette and #wjlacour at the dining table downstairs with doors open and air purifier on. @cleverdevil and I hid upstairs with our food: sliding door open, purifier on, and celing fan on high.

Christmas morning looked different. We all masked. We turned the air purifier on, opened the sliding door, turned on the ceiling fan, and tried to keep distance between us. The #cleverkiddos tore through their gifts with excitement and some disappointment. Disappointment not in the gifts, but in the distant feeling of Christmas this year. The tradition of playing with their spoils together impossible. Family board games, nixed. Watching football or movies while @cleverdevil chefs and I sous chef, nope.

Thankfully in my desperation on Thursday, I had also placed an order for a pick up Whole Foods Holiday Dinner. Having that to pop in the oven relieved some of the stress of shuffling around the kitchen. The only caveat was that the directions for reheating the porchetta were way off, otherwise, easy peasey. Once again, the Covid positive crew ate downstairs, while @cleverdevil and I hid upstairs. The #cleverkiddos were able to have some good time playing with Gigi and Papa after their meal. Or really it was #clevercolette, because #wjlacour had exhausted himself with all of the excitement early in the day. That whole “hang out as a family in the same room and feel connected even if you are each doing your own thing” vibe was not achieved this year.

We will definitely have a LaCour Christmas do-over when we are all not contagious or needing to quarantine.