If we were in a relationship, I’d definitely say it’s complicated. You’re a year I didn’t see coming. One that left much heartache and sorrow in your wake. One that took so much from so many. One that kept us apart from our loved ones, powerless to help them from afar. One that gave our family a third child and unexpected, precious time with our other two kids. 2020, I have some thoughts I’d like to share.
First off, while you were a hard year for me and for my family, we did not face many of the challenges that hit much of our nation. We were fortunate not to contract COVID-19 in our household. We have not lost any loved ones during the pandemic. We were not faced with unemployment, food insecurity, or housing issues. We have a support system of friends and neighbors of likemind who supported our choices and held us up.
We did struggle, though. We yearned for normalcy. For days filled with nothing but the typical. I’m angry with you for robbing my children of time with friends and peers because we chose to keep them home in order to protect the pregnancy and our family. But it’s complicated because I’m also grateful that I got to take my kids on so many walks and outdoor outings. We made memories, memories I will treasure. I was able to invest in them before my attention would be pulled toward our new arrival.
I miss the mundane daily decisions that used to plague my thoughts. You’ve made everything more difficult. This year, you have had me making choices and playing out scenarios that would have seemed unimaginable in February. I’m sick of feeling the weight of every decision. Of feeling judged from all sides. Of feeling gaslit by social media. Of questioning the actions of everyone around me and falling into a thick judgmental haze of my own.
You robbed me of my envisioned and hoped for pregnancy experience. Seeing as how this baby will almost certainly be my last, I have a sadness that I didn’t get to see my mother or my out-of-state sisters or close friends in person while growing our addition. My husband didn’t accompany me to any of my appointments because he wasn’t allowed to and someone had to stay with the kids. My son and daughter didn’t get to meet their brother at the hospital. I didn’t get to see my 6-year-old on his birthday because I was in the hospital. I do appreciate the safety net that the pregnancy provided us — an easy excuse to avoid interactions that made us nervous, but I don’t know if it was worth the cost. We found out we were pregnant at the end of February. How the world has changed since then.
The joy of our new baby is also bittersweet because of the time we’ve lost with my aging mother who lives a state away. I’m so glad we visited her over Presidents’ Day weekend, that the kids got to see her and hug her, that we got to share meals with her. Facetime and phone calls with your mom aren’t enough. I don’t know that I will ever get over the loss of time with her.
Suffice it to say, I’m looking forward to your successor, 2020. Sure, I’ll take the good with the bad, but like most complicated relationships, I don’t see a future for us.
So long, Claire
P.S. As far as the election goes, I will be making up for all of the doors I wasn’t able to knock this year in all the years to come.
Featured image photo credit: Amber Dawkins Photography