It’s been a rollercoaster ride over the last 8 months, and the last week had me feeling frustrated. At the start of November I was determined to start a new month with enthusiasm and positivity. I actually was hopeful this was going to be an amazing end to a challenging year.
Unfortunately Covid reality hit hard this month, and I really started to let it get me down. It is frustrating to feel like we are giving up so much, and making sacrifices and yet the numbers are so high and the restrictions are getting tougher again. We as a family have tried to keep a tight bubble, we are limiting our activities and have kept the kids home from school this year. In addition Fraser, our only working family member, has a job with fairly minimal contact. He works a graveyard shift and in his own machine. I know we are not the only family frustrated or the only people making sacrifices, but I guess it is nice to feel like we are making these changes for a reason but instead our numbers were going up.
Despite feeling frustrated I decided to still focus on the feelings I wanted and take control of whatever I could in what feels like a powerless situation. I started off November feeling excited to be headed into the kids birthday months, looking forward to Christmas and also was finally feeling like we had a bit of a plan for homeschool. With this in mind I came up with a list of the things I am grateful for and why the rest of 2021 is going to be good. I know not everyday is going to be good and that this pandemic is far from over but I am trying to choose to look at the positives.
- We have healthy kids who love birthdays and are excited to celebrate!
- We are still able to work, so far our income hasn’t been impacted (which I know is not the case for everyone).
- Christmas is Magic… our kids are young and there are many traditions that Covid hasn’t changed. We can still have fun with elf on the shelf (yup we are one of those crazy families that does this and I love it!), we can do Christmas baking, we are still able to go cut down our tree at the same tree farm we do each year, we love driving around and looking at Christmas lights, the kids love watching all the Christmas Movies (including oldies like Home Alone, Elf, The Grinch…), they also love listening to Christmas Music (and so do I), we are working on a covid friendly project to spread joy to our neighbours (something we probably would have never done without a pandemic). One of the easiest places to find happiness for me is to look at all the things I can do this year at Christmas not the few things I can’t. I know how hard it is with a big family and missing out seeing them or being able to do some of our favourite traditions (like our family booze cruise, kids annual Christmas party or annual holiday parties) but I like to focus on the positives.
- Our home school schedule is flexible and we have taken to movie nights on more than just Fridays, plus we can sleep in every morning and it isn’t stressful and panic trying to get ready.
- Fraser has been able to fit in some extra studio time at pottery and has come home with some beautiful pieces. He also has started working on creating a bit of a home studio (so far he has a kiln but still needs a wheel) and is able to spend some time for himself. We are usually so busy driving to and from activities it would be hard to find this time and I love that he has it now.
- We have been able to focus a bit more on our house. At the beginning of Covid and during the warmer months it was a bit easier and we tackled some fun projects like redoing our storage area/shed and creating a home veggie garden but even now we are slowly making changes inside that have been on the to-do list for a while but we never seem to have time for.
- How we spend our time. We used to spend a lot of time shuffling kids and driving back and forth. Covid has had us make some changes to the kids schedules and activities/ therapies which has us more home based. This forced home time has us with more “free” time and we have been using that time for play. It is amazing to watch all three kids learn to play together and play imaginary games, make believe and even barbies (nostalgic for me!). I love it and see such value in this extra time and these developing play skills.
- Netflix. I just love Netflix and am currently loving My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. I mean I learnt so much about Kanye and have a new appreciation for him, loved the Ellen DeGeneres episode. I have never kept up on celebrities (be it pro athletes, famous leaders, actors/actresses, musicians), I often don’t even know who they are. Tonight I watched Melinda Gates and I was laughing, crying, inspired. It was a good rollercoaster of emotions tonight. I was moved and inspired. Plus I felt like I was learning and encouraged to take action after hearing about Melinda and all the work she does. First I am going to start watching Secret Millionaires Club and see how we can start teaching a bit more about money to the kids (Thanks Bill).
- We have started to appreciate local travel and love where we live even more. This spring we got to see the Kootenays and this summer we were able to explore more of the islands. The plan for this winter is to appreciate the beauty of where we live and to try and enjoy the snow and BC Climate. We are hoping to be Whistler bound at the end of the month and then head up to the cabin a bit this winter. I am grateful that my kids are learning to appreciate the trips they have already taken with us (pre covid). I think none of us realized how fortunate we were previously and don’t they say distance makes the heart grow fonder. I look forward to the time we can enjoy traveling beyond our own country and the appreciation we will have for the places we visit.
- Finally we have started to watch the news more. I never watch the news and know as little about current events (typically) as I do about celebrities. I really have always maybe lived in a bubble so the reality is although covid has forced us to live in an actual bubble I have been expanding my life to include some current events and some interest in influential people (including some celebrities).
As I look at this list and see all the things I have to be grateful for I am once again reminded how truly fortunate I am. Although the pandemic is challenging my family is safe, healthy and happy. I hope as we near the holidays we can find ways to spread joy and maybe help those who are struggling. Stay healthy and try to look at what you have not what you don’t have.