If there’s anything learned from this last year, I think it was to slow down. To smell the roses, to read more books at bedtime, to just enjoy the little things…

When we first “shut down” in March 2020,  I remember I didn’t think it would last very long, but I took it very seriously. We stayed in, cooked three meals a day at home, went on walks, used insane amounts of hand sanitizer, and spent every day a bit on edge due to the unsureness of the situation. 

I remember taking a drive about two or three weeks in to grab something I needed to pick up from a friend on the south side of town. The streets were barren, barely any cars. The world felt shut down just as it should have, but it was eerie and definitely felt unknown. I remember feeling guilty driving around – maybe it was the good old catholic guilt that is just innate to my being, but I felt like we shouldn’t be doing it. But it was so good to get out in the sunlight and have a change of scenery from the walls of our home and the sidewalks of our neighborhood.  

girls with signs

We ordered everything. Groceries, crafts, games, puzzles, anything that we didn’t have, was delivered to our door, which was a true saving grace through the whole pandemic. Thank you to those who were willing and able to do this for us!  Again, I felt guilty though… my husband is a delivery driver and there were some days we wouldn’t see him until 10 p.m. and there were barely any days off. Because of this sense of guilt, I looked for those local things we could purchase or help with to try to avoid so many extra deliveries.    

But the craziest part of the whole shut down scenario for us, was that we all got along really well for the most part, and  I think it actually brought us closer together. We realized maybe we do like these people that we live with and maybe they are fun to hang out with. We made the most of it and honestly, it taught us a few things. 

Mostly, to enjoy the little things. 

Like Family. 

Time is fleeting and was so prevalent in our mind. Losing loved ones could happen any day.  Which we all KNOW, but don’t always realize until it’s too late. We sent cards, pictures, mailable hugs, and facetimed what felt like daily! If we didn’t hear from someone, we called. We wanted to make sure everyone was ok. We learned that family is family no matter what and even if they bug the hell out of you sometimes, at least they are here to bug you. 

girls with signs

Like Coffee. 

While we enjoy a cup in the morning (or a whole pot), we became dependent on coffee. We grew a very bad coffee habit. I didn’t realize how much of a treat it was to go to the coffee drive thru, but man, did that become a saving grace. Want a cake pop?! Ok, let’s do it.  

Like Dancing. 

We had so many dance parties in the kitchen. So.  Many. It was the best. We made up our own music videos, dance moves, and sent them to everyone for a good laugh. And giggles. The giggles were endless. 

family playing board game
family riding bikes

Like Playing.

We mastered puzzles and board games every Sunday. Finished with breakfast? Ok, what shall take over the table today!? We played games we’ve never played before and played others endlessly. Sorry became a new family favorite.  

Like Loving on Local Faves

We realized that we love the amazing things right within our reach. With so many businesses pivoting, we grew to love them even more and did our best to support those people and some of our favorite spots.  

Like the Outdoors.

Every morning, my oldest would ask if we were going on a walk today. It could be 20 degrees out and she still wondered. This was a fun time together where we could talk, run, laugh, search, whatever we wanted to do on that time outside together. We also went on the most magical bike rides at least weekly! If it wasn’t raining, we rode. It was great family time too! 

Which made me realize that it was those little things that got me through the day.

It was those small wins… 

Those drawings by my kids… 

That ordered pizza… 

Those morning walks…

Those delivery drivers… 

Those giggles…

And honestly, those little things are what tend to get me through any day.

And now that times are changing slowly but surely more back to normal, I realize none of that would have happened without this crazy pandemic. While we are very lucky to be able to recount those days of being stuck together in a smaller home with one parent working from home, another working out in the world, and two crazy kids who didn’t fully understand what was going on most of the time, I hope that they’ll look back on that one strange year and realize that while it was sometimes hard, sometimes ironically chaotic, and sometimes stressful, it was a special time that many will never know and I hope they are grateful for the memories made and the time spent together.