Dear 2020: You Didn’t Win…

Dear 2020,

Wow! You are about to head out of here, no longer the year, but a piece of the past that I will likely never forget. I feel like we need to have some closure, but I don’t even know where to begin.

When I think of you, my first thoughts are negative and focus on what you took from me, all the things you kept me from doing, prevented from happening or made harder, scarier than they needed to be.

But when I slow down and reflect on you – in your entirety – I see glimpses of good. Don’t get me wrong: you didn’t make it easy and over all I am glad to see you go, but we had some great times in the beginning, some bright spots hidden in the midst of the chaos, and I think you tried to redeem yourself at the end.

First, let’s give credit where credit is due – you started off strong. My family welcomed you in California, spent time with some of our dearest friends and family we don’t get to see nearly enough of. We snuck a few other quick trips in January and February. A loved one walked out of his cancer transplant victorious! We went out to dinner, played trivia, and hung out with friends. We celebrated a Super Bowl win at a parade with over a million people! Things were going along great, just as we have come to expect.

But then in late March, you started to get on my last nerve. It was the little things at first. Airline travel “wasn’t recommended,” we packed up work and moved our office home, Royal’s Opening Day was cancelled at the start of a ridiculous MLB season, our son didn’t get the ceremony and celebration he deserved for his college graduation, summer vacation plans ended at the planning stage, our daughter was working from her home much too far away, and we couldn’t safely gather with friends or family.

That went on for months — seriously this isn’t me being a drama queen — literally months!
I didn’t like it, not one bit. You can say that what you did to me was no big deal. And compared to what other people faced, that’s absolutely true. You were better to me than you were to a lot of people. But you kept me away from my loved ones, you stopped me from being able to care for friends who needed some support, and you just wouldn’t give anyone a break.

But you didn’t win.

You see, in the midst of it all, I wasn’t physically with my loved ones, but we found ways to stay connected. We Zoomed, we texted, we sent photos and links to things that we knew would make the other person smile. We wrote letters and mailed them! We dropped surprises off on people’s porches to remind them that we were thinking about them. We even met in parking lots and stood far apart with our masks on, just so we could see each other for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And because of how 2020 played out, my year ended with some real blessings. Our daughter got to be home in KC for two months because she was working remotely. For nine months, I focused on some things that I wouldn’t normally have made time for. I was reminded how much I love to spend time with people, but at the same time how much I love just having my closest people together doing nothing. I made staying connected with people a priority and found creative ways to make that happen.

2020 – you were rough, but as your successor takes over I will carry on some of what I learned from you. Your teaching methods were terrible, but I will never forget the lessons:

Appreciate your people, cherish the moments; take nothing for granted; love harder today than you did yesterday; and look for the good, because in every situation, there is something good.

You challenged me to find highlights this year, but as I watch you go away I will feel some regret. I blamed you for everything that went wrong when maybe some of that was on me. Perhaps I take so much for granted, it really rocked my world when I had to give some of it up.

So long 2020 – thanks for the good times, thanks for the lessons, but it’s time for you to head out. I have people to see and places to go. And after the past several months, I am even more excited to get started.

Hi! I’m Denise; wife to Doug for 36 years, mom to Kate who lives in DC and works at NASA, Caroline who became our angel at four months old and Ryan who is a junior at KState majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Physics and two fantastic felines, Walter and Arthur. I love to take pictures, cook and bake, watch sports, dabble in most any type of crafting and hang out with my family. Mostly out of necessity, I have become fascinated with social media and have a false sense of pride that I am better at it than most people my age. I have a constantly changing bucket list, mostly revolving around things I can do with friends or family and that doesn’t require me to address my solid fear of heights!