Dear Miriam,

I have a bit of a COVID-19/Christmas conundrum. In a way, I feel like I shouldn’t be complaining, because it relates to my family, who I know I’m so lucky to have around me this Christmas. Others have family who can’t come home from abroad and the like. That’s far worse.

You see, my daughter lives and works in Dublin. She’s between working from home up there and going into the office. We really haven’t seen as much of her as we would have liked this year, with the lockdowns and everything. She did get home when she could and it was great to have her. I miss her a lot, to be honest.

She’s coming home for Christmas and I’m delighted. But I have one small issue. I was talking to her recently and she was excitedly telling me all the nights out she has planned at home over the Christmas with various groups of friends.

When I heard this, I was instantly nervous

Now, to be fair on the girl, she’s not straying outside the guidelines. All of her plans revolve around going for dinner and drinks, really. But I do get the impression she’s going to be meeting a lot of people.

When I heard this, I was instantly nervous. I’m sad to say it, but it really clouded my excitement about her coming home. Her father and I have been very careful about COVID-19 all year. Finally there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine and we don’t want to fall at the final hurdle.

Her brother lives at home, but he socialises mainly with his girlfriend and their circle of friends, so I’m a lot less worried about him.

I don’t know how to handle the situation. I don’t want to scare her away, but I don’t want to put ourselves at risk either. What should I do, Miriam?

Mammy in a muddle

Dear Mammy in a muddle,

Thank you very much for your letter. Don’t feel bad at all for voicing your concerns. I am sure very many parents around the country are feeling the same way as you. Trying to balance seeing your loved ones this Christmas, with staying safe, is not the easiest in the current climate.

Like very many problems, the key to resolving this is communication. Have a conversation with your daughter. I would suggest sooner rather than later, so too many of her plans aren’t cemented in.

Maybe suggest she make a bubble with a few friends and go out with them several times if she likes

Firstly, explain, just as you have done to me in your letter, how excited you are to have her home. It is important to let her know how you feel. Secondly, tell her you want her to have a good time this Christmas, but you and her father are trying to stay vigilant against the virus.

Ask her would she have a look at the amount of people she will be meeting while home. Maybe suggest she make a bubble with a few friends and go out with them several times if she likes.

You could also put forward if there are more people she would like to meet, she could maybe do so outside, in a socially distanced manner. I know it is cold, but now more than ever it is time to break out the winter jackets.

why not arrange a night where the two of you can go for dinner and drinks somewhere?

Also, tell her you have had a similar conversation with her brother. And do. Although you may be more used to his behaviours, it is important the lines of communication are kept clear and you treat them equally. I am sure they will both be very understanding when you speak with them.

Lastly, why not arrange a night where the two of you can go for dinner and drinks somewhere? It would be a nice treat for you both this Christmas, especially if you haven’t seen each other face-to-face as much this year.

I hope this helps. Merry Christmas and a happy new year,


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