Tuesday, November 9, 2021

It's the Little Things, 2020

My mom and I were recently reflecting on how life is built of the little things, as my son slowly approaches the end of his high school days.  In many ways, the last 18 months has been a magnifying glass on that idea.  So, since my girl has been begging me to write a blog post (reading them has become a new favorite past time of hers), it felt like the perfect nudge to reflect on our little things of 2020 and why my blog posting suddenly hit a wall.  

The start of 2020, in many ways, was much like years previous.  We had just finished spending Christmas with my mom, only our second one since my dad had passed.  We had our new puppy and were ready to start a new year.  Little did any of the world know, it would be a year with very little of what we had seen before.

We welcomed 2020 with our growing puppy at the front door, as we resumed back-to-school life.  We cashed in The Gift of Time presents, to spend more time together (oh, the irony), as we painted pottery at our local pottery shop.  Aaron got his Eagle Scout Project approved and began collecting materials for what seemed to be the next big thing on the list, and we participated in Girl Scout events with friends, including viewing the super moon in February.

When March 2020 hit, I already had a clear understanding that any virus can be dangerous for me as a diabetic.  When my condition was on the top 5 list for high risk complications, this was suddenly a whole different game.  The world seemed to also acknowledge the seriousness, which made staying safe much easier.  We watched life slow down through both our physical and computer windows.  School and group functions went purely online, and our backyard and short walks around the block became our new world.

In some ways, it was rather beautiful to mark things off our calendar and begin to learn things that we loved about spending time together.  My husband built my daughter a swing for her favorite tree and my son got papers signed off for his Eagle Project.  We designated nights for each member of our family and spent many of them learning about what made us individually tick, as well as what we could have fun doing together as a family.  We had plenty of backyard fire pit nights with s'mores (at least some people did), and I was able to witness my first ever Mother's Day book addition, which consists of handprints and hand written notes, always done in secret until 2020.

We sought out a few families that we asked if they were remaining mostly separated from others and  Aaron worked to finish his Eagle Scout Project outdoors with masks.  The project portion of his rank was complete by the end of May, leaving him 1 badge, installation, and paperwork.  We were so excited for him to be able to mark this off his list.

Being at home had its ups and downs in the beginning, but it was about to get much more difficult than we could imagine.  In May of 2020, people started getting together with others.  The phase of life in our area that was "masked and six foot apart" began.  In the mean time, my doctors were advising me to remain out of stores and restaurants and to not engage with people who were in high contact with others.  By then, almost everyone we knew had resumed spending time with people several times a week or had jobs that were considered front line workers, so that left us without options.  As life began to get into a rhythm outdoors, we continued to celebrate from indoors or our backyard.  There was a Father's Day scavenger Hunt, front yard July 4th fireworks, virtual driveway Girl Scout bridging, and a 16th birthday with a night long video game celebration.  All of which, while done with a smile, was always done with an understanding, but heavy heart.

School started back up and life around us resumed for most people we knew.  I had to pull myself off social media many times because it was so very painful to watch people posting as their lives were returning to normal and ours was remaining the same to keep me safe.  The few times we considered re-engaging with a group outdoors, we would later find out that someone at the gather had gotten COVID and it made my heart skip a beat to think we could have been there.  My kids continued to attend school and Scouts virtually, our family attended church and care group virtually, and I attended my Moms group and lunches with Annie virtually.  I was SO very thankful for the ways that people helped us to stay connected, but it was also so hard on our hearts to still be on the other side.  I emailed and called my doctors frequently, just to double check that they would give the same advice.  I was advised to continue the same path: my household was to remain out of stores, out of restaurants, out of group gatherings, and away from people in high contact jobs.

With so many people around us getting back to normal, it was difficult for some to understand why we weren't, especially as the holidays arrived.  My family stood firm with me in following my doctors' guidance.  They loved me so deeply; more than I am sure I could ever know.  They made sacrifices for me that I will never fully comprehend.  I have always listened as people would tell me they could "never do" the things I have to do to stay alive.  They could never turn away from sweets or count carbs or take shots or be limited in their day to day lives.  I have always responded that if their lives depended on it, they would find a way.  Over my almost 4 decades with this disease though, I have learned that that actually isn't always true.  I have watched as people didn't take the medicine, didn't say no to the food, or didn't listen to the advice of their doctors, and this disease took their life because of it.  Or worse, they did do all the things, and diabetes still won.  However, there are, in fact, people who COULDN'T do what I do, and couldn't do what the people in my home did for me this last year.  I will never be able to tell my people how deeply grateful I am that they did THE biggest things in their lives in 2020 (and 2021) to keep me not only healthy and sane, but feeling so very loved.

Our holidays were as low key as the rest of the year.  We made our first turkey, and masked up to quickly snag a Christmas tree in a parking lot instead of our usual tree hunting with large groups in hayrides and shuttle buses.  We decorated our way-too-large tree with decades worth of sentimental ornaments and celebrated with Charlie Brown reminding me that I have so much to be thankful for, even in the darkest and hardest of years.  That my little family, who loves me with a level of sacrifice that speaks beyond my words, is one of my greatest gifts.  That 2020's little things, really did amount to being the biggest things of all.

Until next time,