We knew Covid-19 was coming as we celebrated Christmas 2019. I remember watching the news of the world and seeing it spread across the map toward the United States. The last time I traveled was early March 2020 and that was a little scary with the virus spreading so rapidly. I planned to meet my sister in California for a family visit and then she planned to travel with me back to Arizona. Social distancing and stay home orders went into place shortly after that visit. Like many others, I never imagined almost a year later we would still be home.
2020 will be known as one of the most unprecedented, devastation causing years in history. From death to job loss to financial ruin, we all have a story about how Covid wrecked havoc in our lives. It’s painful to see how families have been destroyed by the passing of loved ones due to the disease and the struggle to put food on the table. The anxiety and depression is debilitating for some and many will happily say goodbye to 2020.
The end of a year, especially this one, is a good time for reflection and thoughts of gratitude. That may seem odd given the trauma this year created, but gratitude often serves as a life line of hope. Gratitude is a practice of appreciation for the tangible or intangible. It helps you feel more positive, can improve your health and outlook on life. We can express our gratitude in many ways.
The one thing I am the most grateful for this year was time. My husband and I started remote work from home mid-March this year. Our kids also started online learning around the same time. It was crazy, like the overwhelming kind of crawl into bed and not come out kind of crazy. We made it work though. Transitions are often the most difficult part until you get to the other side. Then you realize, how strong and brave you were to make it through the tough times. It was a colossal switch to be home all the time without a commute or an outside commitment to meet. So much extra time at home gave me the opportunity to:
- Go on family bike rides
- Enjoy lunch time walks
- Adopt a puppy we adore
- Try new recipes
- Have pizza night with homemade pizza made together
- Bake cookies, breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls
- Make homemade soup and bone broth
- Read chapter books with my daughter
- Sit on the patio and read
- Plan next career steps
- Dance with my daughter
- Watch the Harry Potter movie series
- Think about how I want life to look like once we are past Covid
- Start and finish the Schitts Creek show
- Learn how to homeschool kids over video calls
- Work on house projects
- Roast marshmallows on a Monday night
- Laugh together during family dinners almost every night
Some might say I could have been doing these things all along. True. A full-time job outside of the home and kids attending school meant less time at home though. The time at home was limited and to be honest, I was stressed and tired. A lot. I didn’t have the energy to do these fun things after a long day at work. The pause to our routine meant no commute, less commitments on the calendar and more time to fill with things we never had time to do before. A win for a working mom who was always on the go.
It wasn’t all fun and games. This year was hard. It was scary. It created a lot of anxiety for all of us. I’m grateful for all of the frontline workers who have sacrificed their well being, health and safety as they cared for so many patients over the last year. No words can express how indebted we are to them.
Being grateful doesn’t mean the problems and injustices of today don’t exist. They do. And do they ever! Gratitude helps us cope and even build the resilience we need when we face life’s inevitable challenges. We’re not out of the Covid woods yet. We will be some day. And when we look back, we can be grateful for the time we had together.
What are you grateful for?