Friday, December 25, 2020
Saturday, December 19, 2020
As 2020 winds to a close (thank HEAVENS!), and we reflect back on the unprecedented times that we experienced, it's absolutely overwhelming. It's the kind of thing we'll undoubtedly tell our grandkids about as they gaze at us, eyes wide with curiosity and bewilderment.
I remember the initial terror - my neighbor bringing me an item, wrapped in a Clorox wipe, and setting it down 10 feet away from me because neither party was sure that the other wasn't contaminated with a lethal virus. Fearful parents warning small children not to get close to their friends because it may make us sick. Blasting out texts to neighbors that "The Walmart on Lincoln Ave. has toilet paper! Hurry!" Oh and that hand sanitizer that smelled like cheap tequila mixed with vinegar that we were eagerly dousing our hands in because GERMS!
It's been an emotional roller coaster with no end in sight. One minute, you feel like you're facing doomsday...then you relax a bit...then, you hear of a Covid case taking the life of someone your age or younger and the panic starts all over again. We cancelled vacations and birthday parties (I had a GOOD one planned for Josie), postponed visits with loved ones, and waved at Santa from the safety of our enclosed car. We worked from home, attempted to homeschool, and took walks but did not play on park equipment. I remember a guy offering to take my cart from me after I unloaded my groceries into my trunk, and I felt equal parts flabbergasted and flattered "He doesn't think I'm a contaminated germ factory?! He wants to touch something I've touched without bleaching it down first?! What in the world?!?!' It would behoove me to write down some of these moments that stand out in my mind as I hope they become a piece of history - something that we can shove out of our minds until our grandchildren ask us to reminisce.
This year, even more than in years past, I felt ample reason to drop holiday cards from the priority list. Honestly, 2020 has became an adequate excuse to dodge just about any activity you may have otherwise felt obligated to partake in, right, Josie?
Furthermore, in perfect accordance with the Murphy's Law that is 2020, my expensive camera lens rolled off the table and broke. As if the cost of the repair wasn't enough punishment for me, "Covid delays" mean that it won't be returned for weeks...certainly not in time for Christmas cards. So that's it - I gave up.
But then, I considered how everyone feels especially isolated and lonely this year. If there ever was a year to try and send a little cheer in the form of a cute holiday card, it's 2020; even if the image was lacking the vibrant and crisp touch of the DSLR camera. Then, Merryn politely implored me to maintain this tradition with the most eager anticipation, assuring me that if I said "yes," she would handle the bulk mailing all on her own.
As with years past, it was important to try and add elements of creativity and humor into the card (See years past here, here, and here). And because 2020 is so anomalous, and because eliciting smiles is so desperately needed this year, it was important to commemorate this somber year with comedy and levity. Remarkably, it came together with ease and despite the subpar cell phone-quality photo, it turned out to be one of the most well-received cards we've done. Without further ado, the 2020 Christmas card reveal:
Sunday, December 6, 2020
The other day, I was in Target picking up some essentials and I walked past an older woman talking on her phone. She had it on speaker and she told the female voice on the other end of the line "I love you" before she hung up. Just like that, grief sucker punched me in the gut and I had to duck behind a display and collect myself. Two years later, I'm reminded of the void left by my mom. It's those little things that don't even faze you at the time - a brief phone call ending in a declaration of love, as every phone call did - they leave a gaping hole.
An email arrived in my inbox from one of mom's friends; she was seeking an update. The update is that we're doing quite well, all things considered. May was quite traumatic with Leanne's choking incident, and we've had many subsequent appointments, tests, procedures, and feeding therapy to try and get to the root cause of the issue and to improve matters. After Leanne's recent esophageal manometry showed very little muscle motility and pressure in her lower esophagus, and given the backdrop of her esophageal atresia surgery during infancy, the dilations, scar tissue, and imaging they have to date, the GI doctor made a referral to Mayo. In the meantime, Leanne still struggles to eat slowly and carefully so we're erring on the side of softer foods to keep her safe. A consequence of her condition is weight loss and we're actively trying to boost her calories to prevent further weight loss.
While the aforementioned circumstances have been stressful, Leanne continues to demonstrate an enviable resiliency! She maintains a positive outlook and she rejoices in the smallest victories. Her daily commitment to faith and prayer are inspiring. She prays for an end to Coronavirus. She is desperate to return to her daily activities of work, volunteering, and socializing.
The pandemic has devastated so many families and our hearts go out to everyone who is struggling. The kids deserve to be commended for how well they've adapted to disruptions in school and other activities. A certain carefree childhood innocence is purloined in having to explain the gravity of the situation to them. As parents, we have tried to brainstorm ways to safely have adventures (fishing, anyone?).
The girls were rightfully disappointed when we postponed plans to unite with Travis' family for Thanksgiving. With Christmas around the corner, sitting on Santa's lap has been replaced by a drive-by wave to Santa. But when it comes right down to it, we are grateful for our health and I believe hindsight will illuminate the creative ways we adapted and made the most of this unprecedented time.
We still have Christmas cookies and Hallmark movies and car rides through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Not to mention a whole lot of family togetherness, which, during its finer moments enhances our bond, and during its challenging moments, builds character (trying to be positive here - ha!).
Friday, October 30, 2020
I always teased my mom about how she threw Leanne these elaborate birthday parties and I got nothing. She would promise to throw me a big party, too. I would laugh and tell her that unlike Leanne, I didn't have hundreds of friends to invite. So in this moment, with tears streaming down my face, I felt my mom there. Of course she was in on it. Mama Hop left my birthday in Leanne's hands and Leanne saw to it that I was properly celebrated. I will never be as popular and beloved as Leanne, but Leanne loves me more than a million people combined ever could. 10-10-2020.