So, I hear your parents finally got their second dose, huh? Moderna? That’s great. You’re probably feeling a whole lot better about visiting them now — it’s been a full year since you’ve been home, after all! New Year’s, Christmas, the birthdays; you’ve missed so many special moments together…and so have I. That’s right: your household may now be low-risk for COVID, but last I heard, those precious antibodies don’t protect against me. Oh, you didn’t think I was coming? Honey, I’m a FULL-BLOWN ARGUMENT. Your father couldn’t decide which candidate to vote for in the last election, Mom still says “All Lives Matter,” and you’ve been living off of unemployment for the past nine months… I wouldn’t miss tonight for the world.

I’ve really missed you three. I’ve popped in on your parents from time to time, but it’s just not the same as when we’re all together. Some other families have already had me over — I was down the street with the Millers just last week for a quick breakfast when Alex got home from college. They’re a nice couple; they needed me when Alex reminded them to use his new pronouns. I had a nice time, but I didn’t stay long… now, your family I feel right at home with. There always seems to be DEEP tension in the air at your house. I feel very welcomed.

Let’s see… what time should I show up tonight? Maybe toward the middle of the meal, when your dad asks, “Now, how’s your roommate…what’s her name again?” — referring, of course, to Jenna, your long-term girlfriend of four years. Or, how about when Mom tops off her third glass of Sancerre and slurs, “You know I’m a feminist, but I’m not calling her ‘Dr. Biden.’” No, I MAY peek my head in when you bring up double-masking, but I’m gonna let the three of you just stew a little bit longer.

God, it’s so great to be in-person again. COVID really tore us apart. It just never felt quite right on all the Zoom calls and FaceTimes. Sometimes your parents’ WiFi wouldn’t be strong enough for me to swing by, and — you! It’s as if you knew I’d be coming! Sneakily making up some excuse about a virtual yoga class that didn’t exist just as your mom started to ask about the money she loaned you back in August. C’mon. You’ve missed me… just a little bit? I know those little millennial tantrums of yours can’t possibly feel as good when you’re having them all alone in your apartment and not able to throw them in Mom and Dad’s boomer faces.

I must say, it’s been so nice to see how much you’ve grown. Not to say I didn’t enjoy working with you as a child; on the contrary, you may not like me a whole lot now, but you certainly did back in high school. And don’t get me wrong, you’re just as petty now as you were back then — trust me — but you really pull out all the stops these days, especially with Jenna! Like that last time I showed up when Jenna told you to do the dishes, and you invited vodka to the party? I thought that was a really nice touch.

So many great memories with you guys. Remember that trip to Florida when your dad and his secretary… hold on, is it already dessert? Am I late? Wait, did your mom just call Andrew Cuomo handsome? Dammit, that’s my cue!