Dear 2020: You Were Off to a Great Start, Then…

Dear 2020,

You should know that I’m not really a fan. I don’t think I’ll ever say “let me tell you about my favorite year…” and then jump into a humorous or heartwarming story about the last 12 months. It could happen, but I doubt it.

You were off to a great start…

and then, WHAM!

This year has been hard for my family. I say that knowing it has been easier for us than for most families. When the time came to shelter at home, we had a home. We had food and pretty good wifi and toilet paper. My kids are able to manage their own virtual learning and I was able to work from my couch and kitchen table. My husband has worked from home for many years—both he and the dog were gracious as we invaded their usual routines.

While I worried quite a bit about money, the truth is we were never in danger of losing our home or cars or jobs. That is certainly a privilege.

This fall, my husband and college-age son contracted Coronavirus. Once again, we were lucky.  They were both able to recover at home and don’t seem to have any lasting difficulties.  I hope that continues to be true.

And still, it has been hard. I don’t feel entirely like myself. I’m not as energetic as usual or as optimistic.  The 2020 version of me isn’t my best self. I’m not as effective or as delightful at a distance.

I’m a people person. I love people and being with them and showing my fondness for them through hugs and pats. As best I can recall, I’ve hugged five people outside my family since March. That’s probably not an actual number, but it certainly feels true!

I’m an elementary school counselor. In the spring, I learned to do my job remotely, using technology tools to meet the needs of kids and families. Since September I’ve been back at school, supporting face-to-face and online learners. If you ask them what I care most about, I’m sure they would say “wearing my mask over my nose and mouth.” Some days, I’m anxious and afraid.

I’m a mom. I treasure extra time with my kids at home and grieve the special events we missed out on. I’m grateful that our school district worked so hard to create lasting memories for the Class of 2020 (#LPSLeads) and sad that only three of us were able to watch my baby graduate from high school in person.

For much of the last 12 months, I seemed to be in survival mode.  In 2021, I want to follow the example of Dr. Maya Angelou: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.

With gratitude and hope,


Beth is mom to a high school sophomore and a first year college student. After fourteen years as a professional writer and editor, she earned graduate degrees in counseling and play therapy. Now she exercises her creativity as a school counselor. Beth loves reading, especially mysteries.