At different points throughout the day yesterday, I of course found myself reflecting on 2020. This year was heavy and dark, but also full of space to grow and let some light in.
We started the year off by celebrating Ellie turning FIVE and spending winter weekends snowmobiling and snowboarding with family. Then, suddenly in March, I started working from home with that five year old home with me 24/7. I distinctly remember a phone call at that time with my mother-in-law, a nurse, while sprawled on the bed in our combo guestroom/office and listening to her tell me that this virus was going to be here for a long time. She said she was thinking we would be battling it through the summer and into the fall, at least. It was an incredulous thought, one I hoped wasn't true. But, Andrew and I knew that my goal has always been to work from home and that even if the virus only lasted a few months, we should build an actual home office for me. So, Andrew built me an office in our partially finished basement and I worked from home.
We kept Ellie home with me, and we took daily lunch walks to the river near our house, we started working on reading, and spent many afternoons fishing with Andrew on local ponds and lakes. We had a great spring and summer, spending time together and outside and learning to ride a bike with no training wheels and starting to ride dirt bikes.
At one point thought, it got to be too much for me. Andrew saw the writing on the wall as my stress/anxiety/depression were rising, and we started sending her to my parent's house a few days a week. She was able to swim (no more floaties!) and spend a lot of quality time with them.
At the end of the summer, as we were making the decision to homeschool Ellie for kindergarten, I was fortunate enough to change jobs. Despite the added stress of teaching while working full-time, some physical ailments that I have suffered from for years seemed to vanish overnight and I credit that to my new career. Making more money with less stress is apparently having a positive effect on my system....
While we lived a quiet, somewhat peaceful summer here in Vermont, which has flowed into the fall and now winter, we missed spending time with many people, including my mother-in-law. As a head nurse in a nursing home, she lost 1/4 of her residents within days in the first wave in Upstate New York. For her safety, ours, and that of her residents and staff, we did not see her from more than a 6ft distance until Christmas Eve. The holiday season h
as been so hard for her, and for us, not being able to see her when we would typically spend so much time together.
I am so fortunate for our health and that of our friends and family, our jobs, and the place where we live. 2020 was fucking hard and sad and dark and lonely and scary at so many points for us and for so many others, but I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend with the family that I could, working from my home office, for Andrew's continued success in his business, and for the ability to slow down and live in the moment this year.
In 2021, I will not take for granted any time off, playing legos even though it's the last thing I want to do, leaving work a few minutes early to go ice skating, or watching my kid catch the biggest fish she's ever caught. 2020 you sucked, but thanks for showing me what really matters.