A year ago today I was supposed to be enjoying the start of March Break. It was the first time in four years when I wouldn't have to work while my kids were on a school break and I was so excited to just spend a week doing fun things with Sam and Rachel. I had been working for just over twelve weeks as a substitute secretary/librarian in our school board and was so enjoying the variety of experiences I was getting, not to mention being gainfully employed after three and half months of unemployment. We were looking forward to Dave's cousin's wedding in California in May, Rachel was preparing for her first dance exams, and Sam was looking forward to spending a month away at an international camp.
And then Covid hit. And the world shut down and everything changed. Instead of enjoying my week off with the kids, we were trying to find things to do and I spent a lot of time crying. And one by one, I had to break the news to Sam and Rachel that everything they had been looking forward to (dance, baseball, camp, our trip to California) was cancelled. It was not a fun time.
So here we are, a year later. Honestly, I was not in a good space last week. I was grumpy, sad, and out of sorts. I think it was remembering where things were last year at this time and not seeing all that much positive change. I think it was sadness about one year of living like this -- no church, no hugging our friends, no seeing my parents (except for two glorious weeks last summer), no traveling, continuously questioning if anything is "safe" anymore, and so on and so forth. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen my closest friends, or we've seen Dave's parents who live half an hour away, this past year. This is not a good thing.
I read a blog post last week where someone asked if you felt more "sad" or "grateful" after a year of Covid. Honestly, I'm still sad. I feel like I should be grateful -- we haven't had to worry about money issues (thanks to Dave's job and government assistance), none of us have gotten Covid, I've been back at work for seven months (after being out of work AGAIN for six months straight), the kids have (mostly) been back at school. But things are still hard. I was talking with Dave about it and he said, "Sure, I'm grateful, but in a negative way. I'm grateful that nothing bad has happened to us. But we haven't thrived during this time." I'm glad we see this past year in very similar ways.
I really miss getting together with friends. I miss hanging out with people. I miss having regular celebrations. Sam's birthday is in a couple of weeks and we're hoping to have a (very small) get together with a few of his friends because he's already had one birthday in quarantine and we don't want him to have a second one. (The get together will be totally weather dependent as no one outside our family has been in our house for a year.) I miss hosting people.
I miss traveling and planning trips. I realize this is such a "first world problem" to have and that we have been so fortunate to be able to do a lot of traveling but it's something our family loves and I really miss it. I miss getting out and exploring even locally. Everything is still so closed and I don't know anyone going to movies or museums or any of that sort of thing.
Last week I was so excited to get a massage (my first one since July) and a haircut and highlights (my first haircut since November). I miss self-care. This sort of self-care is so important and during one of the most stressful things any of us have ever experienced, it was all taken away from us too. Dave and I decided yesterday that we need to start getting haircuts every three months instead of every four months. (Pre-Covid, we got haircuts every two months.) These are the sorts of conversations we have nowadays.
However, despite all this, there is hope on the horizon. I was thrilled yesterday to hear that my parents have vaccine appointments coming up soon. (Dave's parents aren't on our province's radar yet. The vaccine rollout is happening s-o s-l-o-w-l-y in Canada. Ugh.) Maybe all adults in Canada will have a first dose by the end of summer. Maybe. So hope is coming slowly.
I am thankful for all the good our family has experienced this past year, but there has been a lot of loss and a lot of hard. And so as we head into our second year of Covid -- second Passover and Easter, second round of birthdays, second spring (and possibly summer) of Covid -- I just need to acknowledge that. Maybe once we're through this experience and we're hugging our friends and singing in church and celebrating holidays together and not wearing masks anymore, I'll be able to find more to be grateful for, but I'm just not there yet.
What are you feeling these days? Does life feel back to normal for you? What are you most looking forward to once we're past Covid? Do you feel hopeful or are you still in mourning for things -- big or small?