It’s really hard to think about everything that we went through in 2020. I remember the beginning of the year and thinking about everything that I had planned in my head for myself and for my family. This week last year, I planned to have a group of powerful women over to my house for brunch and talk on how we were going to conquer the world in front of us. I had planned to introduce all of those powerful women to my little lady, since she would’ve only been 7 months a year ago. I planned on having all my friends who had children around the same time I did over during the summer so our kids could play and grow together. I planned on going on vacation with my little family, taking baby girl on road trips and doing other fun things with her.
It was going that way. In February, my job allowed me to go to San Diego for a conference that blew my mind at Scripps, and we all went together, drove up to Los Angeles, visited my friend and even had a canceled flight. Then I remember coming home and going to get my nails done with my sister, only to hear that Kobe Bryant had been killed in a helicopter crash. I think that was what started it all in my mind.
Little did we know what this pandemic would really bring us. I remember hearing about it and seeing what was happening in Italy and other parts of Europe. When it got here, I remember hearing about what it would take to stop it. March 16 of last year was the first day of our lock down. My husband and I became coworkers, sharing our office in the house and we figured out how to have someone here to watch our daughter.
Then so many other things happened. We were making our own masks at one point, not wanting to leave the house for anything. I changed jobs and still have my stuff at the old office. My anxiety grew as did my cabin fever and just hearing about people contracting the virus gave me pause. At the same time, I also decided to start my weight loss, started walking almost daily due to anxiety above everything and I was grateful to be home during my daughter’s first year.
In August, we celebrated our baby’s first birthday with a spectacular front lawn set up, drive by drop offs and lots of Sesame Street. In November, my husband got the virus and for 2 weeks, it was just us in the house. It was the loneliest time, but one that showed me just how much I could do on my own. I say that COVID made me a single mom for a while there.
As this year progressed, COVID started hitting home as people we knew were contracting it and were also unable to fight it. Too many people were lost in this war against the pandemic. One of my best friends was and still is traveling around the country as a nurse, helping out where it’s needed and putting her own life on the line, as well as her families.
The end is in sight now. We have three vaccines that are being distributed slowly but surely and folks are being told that going back to an office setting may be possible by September. We’ve come along this long and winding road and learned to manage. We learned how to still have award shows, still work, still stay connected to those we know and love.
Seeing friends on the street is such a joyful experience now, even with masks on and elbow tapping instead of hugging. I’ll take anything. Seeing how we’ve changed is incredible. We missed a year. We missed a full year of gathering. We missed a year of personal contact. We missed a year of events. But we also gained.
I’ve learned that I can stay home and entertain myself. I’ve learned that I don’t have to constantly be out. I learned that watching my baby grow into a toddler was just as important and special as being able to provide for her. I realized who my real friends are. I made an effort to connect with those I love, to tell them that just because I couldn’t see them, didn’t mean I couldn’t love them.
I watch New Amsterdam. They halted filming because of COVID and brought it back recently. The first episode was INCREDIBLY hard to watch. I didn’t think I’d be triggered in the way I was, but I was. The scenes in the hospital during the pandemic were so real and I remembered seeing and learning about the hospital situations — how they were in dire need for supplies and protective equipment. I didn’t think I could handle watching the rest of the show, but I did. It was then that I realized just how painful it really was and just how scared I really was.
Having Type 1 diabetes brings limitations, for sure. But when they tell you that you could contract and possibly die from this virus because of an autoimmune condition, I had no choice but to really start to think about it and just what this could mean for me. We have been privileged throughout this whole thing. We have also been extremely lucky. I know this, and I’m so grateful for it.
I write this, not to be part of the crowd, but as a way to commemorate this year of growth and new beginnings. I have my vaccine scheduled for this month and I’m taking it gratefully.