Happy Thanksgiving! Like many of you, our Thanksgiving dinner will be different than years past and not at all what we had hoped it would be. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve thought about how so many of our favorite Thanksgiving and holiday traditions will be different this year, and gotten really sad. Rather than pushing off those thoughts as ungrateful (after all, our family is all healthy, we have a safe home and plenty of food and toilet paper), I have been letting myself mourn these moments — secretly crying in my car or in the shower or when I see a holiday ad. I think we need to give ourselves grace right now and allow ourselves to mourn the loss of things we hold so dear — holidays and traditions, seeing family and friends, celebrations and even everyday routines like going into the office and school. In fact, up until recently, I hadn’t allowed myself to do that, and I think it made things even harder. Rather than focusing on what I had, I found myself focusing on what I didn’t have, comparing myself to other picture perfect things I saw on Instagram, convinced everything I was doing was wrong, not enough, and feeling like everything in my life was going wrong. Of course it isn’t. But it’s felt that way, and I think when I let myself admit I felt overwhelmed and sad that it helped me also see again how much I was grateful for. In fact, I recently started thinking about what I’m grateful for in 2020, and there’s actually a lot.
I don’t know if that makes sense. But my point in all this is to say that it’s okay if you feel overwhelmed and a sense of sadness and loss going into the holidays. And if you’re feeling like everything is awful or falling apart right now, it’s okay. In fact, I actually think it’s probably a subconscious way of reacting to the reality that winter is coming and it’s probably going to be a really hard one. It’s like we’re on the precipice of doom and gloom — more lockdowns, cold dreary weather, and little to look forward to or even an end in sight. I also think it’s human nature to try to control the things we can when everything else feels out of control, and yet we all know what the universe loves to do when we make plans. So I think focusing acutely on issues at work that I might otherwise ignore, obsessing over my kids’ behavior and growth and milestones, agonizing over my parenting and which method is right, stressing too much over every home decor decision that I’m too paralyzed to make one, is all symptomatic of the lack of control and really freedom I feel in my life right now. I don’t know how to keep my family safe — I mean I’m trying with masks and social distancing and immunity-boosting and all of the other recommendations, but I don’t know if sending them to school, letting them play in a pod or go to a playground (even if no one is around) are the right decisions and if the risk is worth it. Frankly, I’m tired of making decisions, especially ones with so much weight.
With that kind of preface, you probably weren’t expecting me to go on to list what I’m grateful for in 2020. I actually wasn’t sure I could write a post like that without it feeling forced and trite, even though, to me, Thanksgiving is an important time to reflect on what we’re grateful for. But then I started to think that despite all Covid has taken away from us, it’s given me a lot of gifts this year to. So while I’m not typically a silver lining type of person, here’s what I’m grateful for in 2020:
I have never valued my or my family’s health so much, but health is what I’m grateful for in 2020 above all else. In fact, I probably took it for granted. But now, taking care of our bodies and our health has become a huge priority, from nutrition to checkups to the products we use. It’s something I am more committed to than ever before and I’m grateful to have this reminder now when there’s so much I can do to promote and protect our health.
I am grateful each day for my two miracle babies, but I have never felt more grateful to have my family. I know for some families, Covid has taken family members in an instant, and for some, this time has been very lonely. While I have felt isolated and alone in parenting during this pandemic, I feel so lucky to have my little munchkins to keep me busy, cuddled, and to never feel like I have a second to myself.
Never have I felt so dependent on the weather, but with the outdoors the only safe way to socialize or do activities for most of 2020, I have never felt so much appreciation for sunny days, and especially now, for unseasonably, warm weather.
This Time at Home
Not only am I lucky to still have a job and one I can do remotely, but I’m so grateful to also have this time at home. Working from home with kids is all but impossible and some days I feel like I’m going to lose it, but I hated leaving my kids every morning, and feeling like I was missing so much, especially during this fleeting time when they’re so little. I feel so blessed that I get to be home for school drop offs and to watch my little Charlotte take her first steps. It’s time I would otherwise not get, and I am thankful for it every day.
I’m thankful for online communities and that we can still connect virtually. I find myself making silly IG vids and lives, just because I crave connection. I feel so blessed that I have a community that responds, that connects with me, that sends me funny stories and memes, and that is here supporting this little part of the web I’ve carved out for myself as an outlet for my passions and place for connection.