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.
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,