Like all of you, it feels like the pandemic has stolen almost two years from our lives. Here in Canada, we had 3 lockdowns which saw most retail locations close, lots of businesses close down and many families scramble to keep their homes and put food on the table. It has been hard watching these struggles and staying positive. But as parents, we always need to see the good in order to keep our kids happy and healthy.
With our government relaxing the rules, opening more venues, and even the US border, it feels like the world is getting back to normal. As I look back on this time I can’t forget that there were silver linings to this pandemic.
Here are the ones I am thankful for every day:
Our Family Is Closer
Yes, you read that right, having the kids home for months on hand without a minute’s break actually brought our family closer together. I didn’t know if this would be possible but we actually fell into a pattern of special nights and activities that we’ve never done before. Pizza nights, movie nights, game nights, and hikes. We even painted. Life is short and these are your people so spend time with them. A lot of families lost loved ones during the pandemic and it really hit home for me. Doing special things with my kids helped them get through this time and it strengthened our family bond.
Love your people. Spend time with them and do things that truly fill your soul. Forget the rest.
The last 18 months have been devastating for families who lost their jobs, homes and loved ones. One of the biggest ways I could help was to donate to the food bank and to agencies who are on the front line helping these individuals. The cost of food has gone through the roof, but wages have stayed the same for many who worked through the pandemic. Did you know that giving $50 to the food bank provides 150 meals? I didn’t but it felt good to be able to provide that many meals with my donations.
If you have more than you need – give the extras to a local group so they can make sure others have warm clothes, food, and necessities. Heck, even items that aren’t a necessity are needed. If you have any purses you aren’t using – donate them. Nice boots that you no longer wear? Give them to someone in need. There are people who are trying to re-enter the workforce and they need dresses, suits, and work gear so they can be successful in their new environments.
Find centers that give these items directly to those who need them like facilities for families in crisis, churches, and local outreach programs. These associations work directly with the families and they give these items to those who are in need for free.
When everything shut down it actually reduced my stress level significantly. I am a person who hates being overscheduled and the pandemic cleared my schedule(except work). I didn’t have to stand outside the school for 45 minutes waiting to get a spot so I could watch the holiday play. We didn’t have to rush in the morning to get lunches prepared and everything is done to meet the school bell. We didn’t have to run all over with sleepovers or collecting kids from meetups. We could move at our own pace and it was nice.
There are a lot of things that are expected from us during certain holidays or seasons and I liked that there were no expectations and we could pick how we spent our time.
Yes, it sounds petty but we have wanted to paint the house for 5 years and there was always something that was more important to do. Two weeks into the first lockdown I was still working full-time but my husband’s job had shut down. After he caught up on all of his shows(HA!), I went to the paint store, bought four cans of paint and he painted the entire first floor of the house along with the hallway up the stairs. The house looks so nice and refreshed. We would have never had the time to do this. When you take a vacation you do it to go places. This was time off with no place to go but get caught up. So we did and it felt so good.
A weird thing happened during the pandemic. I really learned who my people were and there are fewer of them. My family is my priority. Keeping them happy and healthy is my number one goal so if I am going to spend time away from them it is only going to be with people I truly enjoy spending time with. I joke I have 6 friends – but it’s true – and two are sisters. These are my people – forever. They fill my soul with their unwavering support and they are there through everything.
You really don’t need 50 friends to make you happy. You just need to have the right people who you can be yourself around and you don’t have to worry where you stand. Find these people – even if you only have a few – and never let them go. Ladies, you know who you are and I truly love you.
Reorganized Our Priorities
New rule – if I don’t want to go I don’t. Actually, I mostly lived by this before but I have really leaned into it post-COVID and continue to feel this way as we are coming out of it. Did it make me a hermit? Maybe – but I’m ok with that because the aforementioned friends fit right into that. Never any pressure to go places and do things I just don’t want to do.
Full-time I work in e-commerce and holy bananas was it BUSY. The business I work for grew to a level we hadn’t predicted which made it so that we had to learn how to scale the business quickly. Our team is made up of incredible out-of-the-box thinkers and we all grew professionally – even if we weren’t planning to. They say that pressure creates diamonds and this is exactly what happened.
What did I learn?
It may sound cliche but life is short. Many of the things we loved to do were taken away, which put a lot of things into perspective. It also caused us to pivot and find new things to love.
Closer to the end of Summer 2020 my brother and sister-in-law invited us up to their home in cottage country to have a visit and go for a boat ride on a lake near their house. They have a fishing boat that seats 8 people. We all piled in and cruised around the lake stopping a couple of times for the kids to jump in and swim. This turned out to be the highlight of the Summer. My kids were besides themself excited to cruise around the lake and swim. It was a great day of cousin bonding, laughter, and fun.
In past years both of our families would have had things on the schedule that prevented us from getting together.
The restrictions of the pandemic removed all of these distractions and inadvertently refocused our priorities. For almost two years we were unable to see the people who were the most important to us and now some of them are no longer here. From now on I will spend my time and energy on doing the things that fill my soul and spending it with people who mean the most to me.