I remember the day in March quite vividly as I’m sure many of you do too. I called my husband and told him that I thought it best we keep our kiddos home from school until we were able to get a grasp on the severity of what was happening with this new virus. He told me that he trusted my intuition and he would support whatever decision I came to. Not soon after our conversation, travel plans for Spring Break came to a screeching halt.  Spring Carnivals were being cancelled throughout our district. But surely Summer visits were something to look forward. Because by then we would be able to move about and hug on our loved ones and sip mojitos on a foreign beach, right? But here’s to the positive things that did happen in 2020.

As we all know, summer came and went. Suggestions from the CDC came and went with it. Some things changed overnight whereas other things still had us all holding out hope. And although this year has been a lot of longing, odd encounters with masked friends, conspiracy theories and massive uncertainties, I have struggled (not so well at times) to see the brighter, bigger picture.

the little things. Making a card for a friend or asking your elderly neighbor if they need any groceries is a small, but profound deed. We all need a little bit of sunshine in our often mundane days. At the beginning of all this, a neighborhood friend and her children put together a scavenger hunt for our kids. It was an act that may have not taken them too long, but it has powered us through this pandemic and reminded us that doing good for others can change our way of thinking too.

neighbors. Everyone is home. Everyone is home! This means that we have gotten to know our neighbors in 2020. We have lived in this house for 5+ years, but our relationships with our neighbors have just now begun to prosper. We enjoy sharing recipes and spices, ways to cope, stories of hope, gardening tips, and heck, beer! Who knew a local IPA could be so delicious?

hugs. Ahhhh I miss them so! Like many of you have said, I plan to hug all the people once I’m able. Watch out because I’m coming for you! With that being said, because we are only able to hug a small few (thank goodness for them!!!), I hug with intent. I relish in the moment and am thankful for the human touch.

making the house a home. We slept in our beds and we often ate breakfast and dinner at our tables, but did we really make it ‘ours’? Finally those cabinet doors are getting painted. The closets are being organized and cleaned out. The back fence is getting replacement pickets. We are making it a place where we want to be! It’s likely our foreseeable future (perhaps our indefinite one), so why not make it enjoyable?

time. We had it all along, but we’ve learned how to properly utilize it. Or well, we are trying. This could coincide with the aforementioned paragraph in that we are using it to improve our living situation. However, it also pertains to setting aside time to catch up with those we haven’t spoken to as often as we would have liked over the months/years/decades. It is time to sit and write out a physical letter (also, a little thing).  Despite being interrupted every 2-3 minutes, I have finally found the time to open that Etsy shop I kept talking about.  What time is better than the now?

education. I must admit that I am not fit to be a teacher. I knew long ago that it was a profession that someone needed special skills to perfect. But now I have an even greater appreciation for the talents of the school district. What has been fun? Seeing firsthand the things that are being taught to our children. When they’re in school and away from us for 8+ hours a day, I often get very little response about their daily activities when I ask. Now there is no hiding. And in 2020, I found that I’m relearning long lost skills as well.

resilience. This has been a very trying time for many families both financially and mentally. It has been amazing to see neighbors sharing toilet paper via social media, new forms of celebrations being had such as drive-by birthdays, crafting parties going viral, businesses stepping up to help those in need, children working together to create ‘homeless kits,’ etc. etc. etc. We are resilient. We are strong. We are all in this together.  Lend a hand if you can. Teach a new trade if you have the knowledge. If we have the support and help from one another, we can get through anything together. I can see that now.

So although our new 2020 daily schedule isn’t exactly ideal, there is some newness for which I will remain grateful. May your holidays be healthy, your outlook stay positive and the new year bring more smiles and a sense of normal we can all agree on. And remember, smile through that mask. Not only will they feel it, but you will too!

Photo Credit :: Lindsay Herkert Photography

Lo is the Founder + Chief Innovation Officer of Trotting with Tots, a local stroller-toting mama tribe. When not scoping out new trails and neighborhoods to explore with the running group, she spends her time cooking up random vegan concoctions, inflicting pain on friends with her waxing skills, putzing around on her Cricut machine, inventing some new house project for her husband, and/or drinking wine while watching the latest episode of Intervention. Lo is married to her very own Magic Mike, whom she met on an airplane, and is lackey Mom to two munchkins (Gage + Gemma), and an allergy-ridden pup (Killian). She loves the color yellow, the sound of high heels on asphalt and gargantuan wind chimes.

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