As 2020 begins to come to a close, I can’t help but think of the lost memories over the last eight months in which our country has been in the fierce, painful grip of a Pandemic. While we can all agree this year has been drastically different than what we planned or expected, we have not only lost memories but also found ourselves with diverse memories we never thought we would have this year.
Eight months ago, the fast-paced, hustle-and-bustle of the world came to a screeching halt in a matter of days. Suddenly, every plan was canceled, every soccer game, every event, leaving us without anything on our normally crammed calendars as mammas. Initially, I sat back and enjoyed the “new normal,” my days filled with taking my time to clean every dust corner in the house, going on long bike rides with my kids, reorganizing laundry rooms and kid’s toys, and having a neighborly chat (or two).
Don’t get me wrong, virtual learning was an arduous journey for us all, but when we put the books and computers away for the day, we found yourself with nothing much else to do than to spend time together or take the time to do the tedious things we normally rush to “just get done.” This Pandemic gave us memories and friendships with our neighbors that we never thought we’d have due to the busyness of our lives.
We’ve received the most precious thing with our children, and that is time. Time to just be with them, talk to them, play with them.
As a country, even though we were physically isolated, everyone started reaching out, connecting. Our virtual hands reached across America, and we connected as a country again. We realized we were focused on the wrong things in our lives, and for the first time, we had the time to change our priorities.
But, deep down, I still mourn the lost memories and those to come. The missed baseball games, cheering for the home run with ketchup dripping off my hotdog as the sweat from the southern heat rolls unnoticed down my back. Not being able to go to the movies on a rainy day, eating popcorn that, no matter how much you try at home, tastes better. Or going to the zoo so my turtle obsessed son can see a “weal tur-tle” while my other son gawks at the emu chasing people for their food cup. Even just the simplicity of walking down to the local park to meet up with friends to play soccer or just release some energy. I miss the relaxed familiarity of friends over for dinner, sharing our lives with each other. An entire summer of lost memories…
But most of all, the memories I am going to miss the most are those to come in these following months.
When all this started, I thought it was only temporary. I never imagined that Halloween would be canceled or that I wouldn’t get to spend Thanksgiving surrounded by family. As I look back to previous years, all the memories we created and shared with friends and family during these seasonal months are now tainted by a sharp pain. Because I won’t be able to get those memories this year.
All the things I said, “we’ll do it next time” or “let’s do that next year” because we were just too busy to get to it all, will never have a chance to form. I am sure I am not the only one feeling this grave loss and sense of FOMO. So while there might be a time we get back to “normal,” we can never get those lost memories back.
Our children have grown another year, some places that will never re-open, and the hard truth that will hurt the most is that we might have lost someone to this virus.
So when the time comes, I will cherish every memory, even though it may not be what I planned or expected.
As we approach the “most wonderful time of the year,” our memories are going to look very different, as they did over the summer. There is no question; I will miss my entire family dressing up for the Elf Parade and riding on my Uncle’s ostentatious handmade float, “Friendsgiving,” getting a date night with my husband to attend an adult Christmas Party and our children’s treasured Christmas performance.
But this year, there are significantly fewer things to do on my calendar, giving way to more time to just relax in fuzzy socks with a mug of hot chocolate by the roaring fire, watch all the classic movies with my children that we’ve never had time to see in years past, and hopefully time to truly reflect on what we gained this last year amongst all this loss.
I hope we all can permit ourselves to feel the grief over our losses this last year, but also allow ourselves to acknowledge the moments of happiness throughout this difficult time. We’ve lost some, but we also gained some as well.