The Year 2020

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Since becoming a mom nearly forty years ago, every January 1st I would sigh in relief that the whirlwind of the holidays was over, and that it’d be another long twelve months before I had to gear up again. How I loved the reprieve from worrying about presents, the over-indulgence of food and sweets, and all the hoopla that goes with the season. But with COVID-19 this past year, time seemed to march by slowly. So slowly, I found myself wondering, Will this year ever end?

2020 was tough—for everyone, and for the world. I always try to appreciate all the simple things in life, but I never knew how much I truly loved my freedom until it was no longer an option. Like a dog, I’m a pack animal and craved my clan, my crew, and the filling of my soul with their human connection. Being alone for months on end became challenging and all I wanted to do was hug someone—anyone would do.

As the months moved at a snail’s pace, depression tried to rear her ugly head. I missed my work as a realtor, my clients, and all my fellow agents. I missed parties and catching up with my friends. I especially missed not teaching dance and aerobics at the YMCA. But mainly I missed my children and grandchildren. Zoom calls quickly became a poor substitute for being present with them. I was falling into that dark vortex of loneliness and needed a lifeline to pull me up. Then I remembered my father once telling me, “Hope is essential to life because it’s the dream  things will get better. And we all need our dreams.”

Through the Great Depression and World War II, Dad believed God would be good and create change. When his four children went against everything he stood for—his Catholic roots and love of country—during the 1960s and ’70s, it pained him. We were the new generation that wanted nothing to do with the old. But he placed his trust in his children that we would make the right decisions for us with how to live in this new world, even if they went against what he stood for.

A massive stroke took away his mobility at the age of sixty-eight. As he lay in the hospital bed, he was given the news he’d never walk again. But he held onto hope. By working hard at his physical therapy, he worked to walk. And walk he did. Time for me to take a page out of his play book.

With 2021 approaching, I’ll honor my father and work to make it my Year of Hope. Hope that this horrible virus leaves the world, that those suffering the loss of a loved one will find peace, and economic downturn begin to turn their lives around again. Hope that children will run freely again with their friends, mask free, and that gatherings with those we love become an event to look forward to on a weekly basis.

I also pray for a new normal, where we become kind and non-judgmental to one another, no matter what color skin, nationality, religious or sexual preference, or political affiliation. The so-called normal of the past wasn’t working and had become a world I wasn’t sure I wanted to live in.

While I always knew this, 2020 truly opened my eyes to how fragile, fleeting, and precious life is. Going forward, I not only hope but plan to treasure every minute. I dream this for me in 2021, and I dream this for you.

And, how I hope to spend more time with these two wild kids without worrying about illness. What are your hopes for 2021? I’d love to know.

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