We just completed an entire year of living with COVID-19.
And what a year it has been.
The pandemic isn’t over yet, but it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a freight train. It’s a vaccine.
The virus is still spreading, but hopefully the vaccine is spreading faster. People are posting all over Facebook who got it and who is waiting.
My husband got his first shot. I’m up in the next age group. No matter what, we’re in this for the long haul, however long it shall be.
I have a five-year memory journal on my nightstand. There’s room on each page for just a small paragraph for each year. I caught my breath as I turned to March and saw the dominoes fall.
Before that, the entries were of normal life: a family birthday bowling party, meeting the grandkids at the school bus stop, attending our grandson’s report on concussions, hearing all about the Daddy Daughter Dance and buying Girl Scout cookies the kids sold door to door.
Back then, we went to movies in a real theater and saw “Little Women” and “Jo Jo Rabbit” on a big screen.
I went Rollerblading. Ice skating. Line dancing. We watched “The Golden Globes” with my sister and a niece at my house, the niece who headed to New York City to make her acting debut then watched the pandemic shut down Broadway.
The NBA canceled its season. Disney closed. Baseball moved Opening Day. The governor closed bars and restaurants. Election Day was postponed. Grocery stores created hours for the medically fragile.
Then my husband’s brother got COVID. Schools closed. We shopped via Instacart. A friend’s mom died. We attended our first funeral on Zoom.
We held our own Memorial Day parade in the grandkid’s driveway.
Then my friend Frank died. Then my friend Laurie. Then my cousin Rusty. And my nephew Michael. Grief is so much harder when you can’t attend a funeral.
We dug into TV and watched “The Crown,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” and “This is Us.” We sheltered in place with the grandkids, hosting endless sleepovers, playing four square and going on nature hikes.
We watched TV shows they liked: “Baby Alan,” “Dude Perfect,” and “Carmen San Diego.” We watched “Hamilton” the movie and dressed up as characters from it. We watched “Tiny House Nation” and built houses from boxes. We watched “Nailed It” and tried our hand at new desserts.
The library offered curbside pickup so I read endless books.
We tried to see the comet over Lake Erie. We watched fireworks on TV instead of in person on Independence Day.
My husband worked from home. I redesigned my website, launched a podcast and a weekly newsletter.
When trick or treat was canceled, we held a Halloween party in the garage.
My husband dusted off his bike and we started riding together.
The hair salon I frequented for 22 years closed forever, so I went gray, which is a lot easier to do when no one sees the roots grow in.
We played endless Playmobil, Barbie, Kahoots and Ticket to Ride. My grandson discovered Risk, God help us all.
I went downhill skiing for the first time in my life, learned how to Just Dance on Nintendo Switch and got a puppy. For the first time in my life, I own a dog.
My 10 siblings took to texting to stay in touch. We attended our niece’s wedding via Zoom.
The Cleveland Indians ended up in the playoffs. So did the Cleveland Browns.
We held a curbside Thanksgiving, handing out to-go containers to our son, my sister and two dear friends who usually join us around the table. We had a Zoom Christmas. Our son’s significant other got COVID. Another friend’s mother died from COVID. Another friend’s dad died from it.
We slowed down our lives. We lived on Zoom. I wore out two pairs of jeans and never wore most of the clothes in my closet.
We are all changed. It has been the best of times and the worst of times.
It’s not like we lost a year.
We just got a different year than any of us imagined or planned or hoped for, a year we’ll never forget, treasure forever, and hopefully, never repeat.