For this post I wanted to sum up my view of 2020. I realize many have had different experiences, but I wanted to share what my life was like this past year.
January of 2020 was not so easy for us. I received the diagnosis of Scleroderma from my specialist. The diagnosis itself was welcomed, as I finally had answers. However, sometimes answers are not enough. Finding out there was nothing I could do to change my declining health, no cure, no medicine, nothing, broke our hearts.
To top it off, I had been growing quite close with my husband’s grandmother. In January 2020, she passed away. On the day of the funeral, we found out from the mechanic our car was no longer functioning. We scrambled to find a new car that was reasonably priced, one that would last.
A month later, I was forced to give my notice to my job of seven years. My health had been declining steadily, and I found myself too weak to continue on. Jamie and I had to face the facts; I just could not work there anymore.
I loved my job. I loved helping people. But, as any daycare teacher knows, the job is very physical. My hands would swell so much that I could not hold a pen or pencil. I was truly exhausted and saw no end in sight. It was for that reason I had to leave.
I had no idea what I would do with my life after that. I trusted that God would guide me on the path. The part about leaving that tore at my heart the most was that I did not get to say goodbye to my students. I was the lead toddler teacher and had previously been a lead teacher in the infant room. So technically, I had those students for two or more years. It was tough saying goodbye, but knowing I could not even see them on my last day was rough.
The reason I could not see them, as many know, was because of a deadly virus spreading across the world. My last day was to be in March of 2020, but shortly before then, the Governor of Ohio placed a lockdown in place. Because of this and my health, my boss allowed me to gracefully exit early in order to protect my health. With my disease, no one wanted me to catch Covid-19.
With this early exit, though, I missed the opportunity of a party on my last day, giving gifts to my students, and saying goodbye. I emailed digital gifts to each one, but it was not the same.
Here I was, in March of 2020, with no job, though I had worked full-time positions all of my adult life, declining health and a lot of time to spare. I used this time to heal. I played games, began researching my health and changing my diet, working on projects, slept in, and most of all began to concentrate on my relationships.
My husband and I have, over our years together, gathered quite a few close friends. We also have families that live not far from us. Though at the end of 2019, we moved closer to my husband’s job and a little farther from our families, we are still close enough to see them if we want. The problem with the coronavirus, though, was that we could not see them in person.
The funny thing about moving, though, was that we moved to be closer to his job, and because of the virus, he has spent the last year and a half working from home. Though it makes us chuckle, we don’t mind the move. We love our house and our neighborhood, and now that we are allowed outside, we plan on making it our own.
We missed seeing our families over 2020. Missing going to Easter and Thanksgiving, only video chatting helped us through. We safely visited them on Christmas and a few other occasions. In the summer, we had a scare on one of these occasions. We, not so safely, did not wear our masks at a family reunion.
I blame my stubbornness at the time because my only focus was on seeing family I had not seen in a decade. It was not until a few days later that I began experiencing shortness of breath that scared me. It turned out not to be covid, as I was tested, but I never made that mistake again. Ever since, my husband and I have been overly cautious, wary of the virus lurking around every corner.
It was because of this that we did not see many of our loved ones last year. Instead, as I mentioned earlier, we chose to video-chat over several different services. We used Google Hangouts, Zoom, Google Duo, and Skype to keep in touch with our loved ones.
I actually feel like we kept in touch with them more in 2020 than we ever had before. Perhaps the threat of coronavirus made us realize how much we loved those in our life. For that, I am thankful. Though, when the virus is long behind us, I may grow complacent about certain areas. I pray I never lose the desire to talk to and see my loved ones. In 2020, I learned that relationships are the most important thing ever. That was a tough lesson for an introvert like me!
We also used video-chatting to talk with friends and have game nights with friends online. Playing Jackbox, Codenames, and learning about Board Game Arena changed everything! Though we cannot wait to see our friends in person, playing our multitude of board games, this was a chance to connect with them and have fun. This was what we needed!
Thankfully, I was contacted by a few families in need of a part-time nanny during the summer. This was a relief, as we worried about what I would do without a job. My husband is blessed with a job to pay for the bills, but my income was always used for something, and without it, there was little wiggle room. This part-time nanny position extended through the school year, and I look forward to each day I spend with those girls! It has truly been a blessing!
Yes, 2020 was rough. We lost my husband’s grandma, I lost my job, I was diagnosed with an incurable auto-immune disease, and the world was in chaos. To top it off, we experienced a great loss in April of 2020. Our dog of eleven years passed away suddenly due to cancer we did not know he had.
With the loss of Rugby, I cried continuously for months. Thankfully I did not have a job, and depression could take hold of me for that time. Even now, over a year later, I still think I will see him there. I miss his touch, his warmth, his love. He was my first dog, and he was my baby!
We tried to adopt another dog in a gut-wrenching experience. I always believed I would never give up an animal I adopted. I held a stigma toward the action. December of 2020 taught me a lesson.
We adopted a dog who was loving and sweet, great with other dogs and people, and was a snuggler! Perfect for us, right? We tried to slowly introduce him to our cat of thirteen years, following the Vet’s instructions exactly. The agency did not know how he was with cats, but we thought we would try anyway.
He was the sweetest dog! He truly was! But, we learned, he displayed aggression toward cats. He even bit my husband while trying to get to our cat! We talked with our Vet, and he said that this was a deep feeling that would not be trained away. In our heart of hearts, we knew what we had to do.
In December of 2020, I cried as I had when we lost our dog Rugby, cried and cried and cried. It was the most difficult thing I could ever do, but we had to return him. I will never again judge someone that had to return a pet. I learned there are circumstances beyond our control. Not every case is the same.
Thankfully, the foster mom who had previously had the dog adopted him! She missed him so much, and he has an amazing home!
It has been a year of struggle, but it has been a year of growth. My husband and I have learned so many lessons about ourselves and have learned what is important. Love, relationships, those are what are important.
Though the threat of Covid-19 still lurks around the corner, we are getting out now. My husband got the vaccine, and I plan to when my health is under control. We wear masks, take precautions but are now beginning to see those we care about.
Though our world is still chaotic, life feels hopeful. It has been a year, for sure! But, for all the pain we experienced, I believe it was just as good as it was bad. I am thankful for the lessons I learned in 2020 and try to look toward the positive. I have people that love and care for me. What more could I want?
What was your greatest blessing of 2020? Don’t forget to comment or reach out to me on:
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