I’m guessing that by now, the vast majority of you have some idea on the horizon as to what your return to the physical workplace may look like. At the very least, the timing. Many companies, including GBQ, have spent an excessive amount of time ensuring the safety of all employees as we work our way back to work. But, how many of you have put the same effort into the “return-to-family” policy you plan on sharing with your family members to help them understand why family gatherings are going to look a little different over the next few holidays?

As I’m writing this, I’m imagining what the first family picnic is going to look like (hopefully by Labor Day). Setting is our back patio – sleepy for the last four months, but now the most happening patio on the block, with at least 20 people in attendance. Grill lit and smoking, kids running around the yard and shouting the rules to side yard whiffle ball, grandparents relaxing soaking in the sun, and my wife and I… stressed.

There’s an abundance of Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and even extra masks readily available. We’ve spent the past few months enforcing hygiene habits on our kids. That doesn’t go instantly out the window just because we let our guard down long enough to invite our close family over.

Dad, stop trying to hug the boys!

My wife is playing a significant role in her organization’s return-to-work policy, which has forced a very positive conversation between the two of us about how we allow our family, particularly parents, to spend more time with their grandsons. At the end of the day, since we consider our parents more at-risk than ourselves, this is ultimately more about their health than ours. You can be certain our version of the stay-at-home order has been a lot more strict than anyone else’s in our family.

Mom, please quit sharing your can of Sprite with everyone!

This is a difficult communication to be had, and just so we’re clear, and everyone hears the same thing, we’ve decided an email to all should be sufficient, assuming my dad still knows how to log into his computer and find the AOL icon. It’s also printable, in the event you may forget where we stand on sharing the spoon hanging out of the pasta salad bowl that’s already been taste-tested by Ashley’s dog.

Nini, I don’t care what conspiracy theory you read on Instagram, you should still be sneezing into your sleeve.

Not all of them will agree, either with what we’ve said, or our chosen course of safety. Yes, other parts of the economy are opening up, and by now, we should have completed an abbreviated season of youth travel baseball. Our restaurants should be thriving, the bar scene is back enough for now, and college football season should be giving us the much needed full sports season that none of us have witnessed since now-Cincinnati Bengal Joey Bulldog and LSU took Clemson to the woodshed back in January.

Papaw, seriously, no mask? You’re not going in the house, just pee in the yard!

Ok, old folks, line up. Single file line (6 feet apart, of course) behind Aunt Candy, time for your 30-minute temperature check.

We may have gotten our hopes up about how easy this might be.

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