Happy New Year! You might have noticed that I was going strong with my gratitude posts for almost all of November, then suddenly posted nothing at all for more than a month. Yep. In case you wondered, it doesn’t mean that I had no gratitude during that time. Quite the contrary, I was feeling all sorts of thankfulness. Also, I didn’t forget to post… well, maybe a couple of times at the end of November. But I did think about posting many times during the holiday season. And the time never got made.
Now the holidays are officially over and I’m pretty sure it’s gauche to put holiday photos in this post, but too bad.
Here are some other things I have been feeling grateful for lately:
- Staying in school through December. I truly never thought we’d make it so long, but I very much prefer my job in person. Especially before the holidays, when the kids are nutso and we wear pyjamas to school and doors get decorated and so on. Even with protocols, FUN was had.
- Three weeks without protocols (counting this one). As much as I’m grateful for school, it’s also been beyond lovely to wear my mask so infrequently, and to have left my face shield on my desk at school. Dealing with fogged-up glasses dozens of times a day is something I haven’t missed even a little.
- The absolutely beautiful snowfalls we’ve been having, including a sublime one right on Christmas Eve. Tobogganing on Christmas is pretty fantastic. It seems that the weather gods smiled on us: “If they can’t hang out together… at least let it be pretty.” And lo, it was.
- Walks in the woods. We have a lot of lovely places to walk nearby, and I always feel lucky to have that. Especially when you can walk with people whose houses you can’t enter.
- The fact that my sister Emily and her hubby became part of our bubble after quarantining for two weeks upon their return from the US. I felt very, very lucky to have extra family when so many are in their smallest groups.
- Driveway visits. We got to see all the grandparents, and several other beloved people, for short visits outdoors over the holidays. It was wonderful even though it was wistful.
- Video chats. Remember when it was only in science fiction movies that you could call people and see their faces on screens? We have done a lot of chatting with multiple groups of people, and sometimes it really did almost feel like there were a lot of us in the room.
- Fun food. Emi and Alex made two gigantic pies on New Year’s Eve. At various other times, there were also the traditional cranberry-lemon cake, applesauce cake, mulled wine, scones, stuffed squash, French toast, and other delicacies. We received a gift of a bunch of different vegan cheeses that have been a real treat to try. And there was that one particularly magical moment when we tuned in to my sister Beth and her partner Matt’s improvised “cooking show” for family, where they showed us (by video chat) how to make pizzelle. I mean, pizzelle are pretty magical to begin with, but then they said, “Now if you go outside and look in the shrubbery, you will find your very own pizzelle!” AND WE DID. Our minds were blown, in the best way.
- Sean’s work deciding to have a mini-shutdown after all so that employees (who were all asking for time off) could be home. I know I will never get enough vacation time with my hubby until we’re retired, so for now I just cherish every moment.
- As always at this time of year, our warm sturdy house and especially our fireplace. Fire warmth is just the best.
- I’ve also been feeling very thankful for some of the most heartbreaking times of my life, because they have allowed me to feel deep empathy for people I care about who are grieving right now.
This evening, going into the second day (of five, we’re told) of online school, I am also grateful for a feeling of calm. A confidence that 2021 will be a year of hope and clarity, that we will all be wiser and more appreciative, and that balance will be achievable somehow. That humanity will move forward.
In a way, it’s a remarkable gift to have had a year that the entire world agrees was a shit-show. Despite many examples of crippling divergence and alienation, humans were in some ways more unified than we have ever been. Considering how vast a population we are, that’s a momentous thing.
I can’t really justify this feeling in my own life – that I’m finally going to just do life better, as I envision it, in 2021. There’s no evidence to back up such a notion. But there have been many learnings in 2020, so maybe I simply will.
Also, I dreamed the other night that Sean and I were hanging out with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively at their house, cuddling their baby (do they even have a baby?), watching TV, and admiring Blake’s jewelry collection. It was very vivid and we were totally cool in the presence of celebrities, so perhaps that’s what has given me this feeling of the impossible being possible.
Whatever. I’m going with it.
May your best visions become reality in 2021!