Being born into a big family with 28 first cousins (and lots of second cousins that lived in the same town) always meant large family gatherings at all holidays. After my kids were born, those large gatherings continued with all the cousins basking in the joy of the next generation knowing each other. While there aren’t family gatherings on the calendar and my nostalgia for holidays of the past is high, the Covid era has really taught me to be thankful for what is. Here is what I am feeling thankful for this holiday season.
- My Family. Quarantine taught me that my family of four is enough. While I quickly knew after I had my second child we wouldn’t have more kids, I have at times felt a sadness at not having a larger brood. It is not lost on me when in the past I have been asked how many kids I have, I often reply “Just two,” as if I am apologizing. Our three month quarantine really reinforced that not only was our family enough, I feel so lucky that the four of us have each other. While the quarantine wasn’t easy at times (many times), we had lots of joyful moments especially playing our new favorite family game, Pickleball.
- Technology. While Zoom is exhausting, especially when you are applying a beloved child to High School and cannot visit the schools in person, I am really grateful we can use it over the holidays. Last month, a chef friend asked some folks to cook mashed potatoes with her over Zoom for a work event. We had so much fun. I left making great mashed potatoes (no lumps Mom) and feeling connected to two friends I hadn’t seen in months.
- Educators. I am married to an educator and I am a sister to an educator. They have been shoved into backbreaking and, at times, soul-crushing work since March. The planning and scheduling to flip a school to online, hybrid or in-person learning in a pandemic has been endless. Send a note to a teacher before winter break .. even if they don’t get back to you, it will help you feel the gratitude we all need for this winter.
- New York City. What a challenging year it has been for my city yet this fall was like seeing the first flower in Spring. We watched as restaurants re-invented themselves and came back to life. Parks were bursting with activity all the time, and neighbors gently checked in with each other. And, the 7pm celebration on roofs and out windows that is still happening to acknowledge our healthcare workers. I am so grateful for this city I call home and it’s shared value of taking care of your community. Plus, there are so many puppies in NYC right now!!!
- My friendships. There has been no hiding during this time — no desire or ability to put on the facade of perfection. Thank God. My friendships, near and far, and my family’s friendships have been so incredibly important to move through this time with some grace. Getting vulnerable with my friends and family about what is really going on, expressing fear and grief has been one of the best things to come out of this. To quote Brené Brown: “Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives.” Nothing has fueled my daily life more during this time than my ability to share with another what is truly going on.
- My Dynamo Girl Family. What a road we have been on and to be able to show up for this work during a pandemic has been lifesaving. While there is a lot we miss from our pre-Covid work, the pivot muscle has never been stronger during this time.
Sending our Dynamo Girl community peace during this holiday season. And, while there is so much is to be missed during this time, what are you feeling grateful for?