It is 8:30 on Dec. 31st, 2021 and Classic FM is playing in the background.
Amanda is in bed watching a TV show, Ivy is on the couch watching videos, and I can hear everyone else playing poker with Zain’s new 4 million piece poker set. Holden is telling everyone how to play while Bella listens intently. Atticus is providing witty repartee while Zain and Marcus are laughing uncontrollably. And Asher is calculating how to beat everyone. They just fired up the Google speaker to play music and assured me that they would shut the door so as not to bother us. It really is no bother. Listening to their happiness is fueling my happiness.
For the time being I can pretend that:
- There isn’t a ranging pandemic sweeping through our lives.
- We are not breaking records for new Covid cases.
- Betty White did not just die.
For the briefest moment in time, with those I love around me, all is right with the world.
Looking back at this year is equally confusing, messy, and positive. Unfortunately, it feels like we are back where we started. This year has been a blur–from the absolute insanity of Jan. 6th to not leaving the house to starting a new job.
I left Lake Wales High School in April and started working at ASU Prep Digital as a guidance counselor. The number one reason I applied and took the job was because I get to work from home. I don’t miss being in the classroom at all. Teachers have given up–the morale in schools right now is at an all time low. I’m very happy with my job–I still get to interact with kids, help guide them, but do it all through the phone and Zoom. It is a relief to not have to worry about the potential of being infected by other students and teachers.
A bit earlier, I was scrolling through Amanda’s Facebook from 2020. It was a reminder of the dark days of Covid. There was no end in sight, there was no vaccine, and we were terrified of what the outcome was going to be. I remember, Amanda would grocery shop, in full PPE, and buy enough food for at least 6 weeks. People would stay away from the crazy person decked out in scrubs, a mask, and a surgical hat. She was already out, being exposed, so she did the shopping.
But then, this year, we got a vaccine, and many people got vaccinated. There were some flickers of hope. We even got to a point that we felt safe travelling. As a family, we travelled to the Pacific Northwest. We felt safe out there due to the high vaccination/low transmission rates.
We developed what was to become our new normal. Then the Delta surge. And now the Omicron surge. And we are back where we started a year ago. And teachers and students are gearing up to go back to school next week. There are no plans in place, no safety measures being taken, it is just business as usual. You would think that over 800,000 deaths later, people would be willing to change and do their part to limit the spread. But no–they don’t.
As this year ends and a new one begins, I am very cautious about any optimism for the new year. I would love to say that things can only get better, but we were saying that last year at this time. So, for right now, I’m going to focus on the laughter and screaming coming from the kitchen.
And as long as 2022 doesn’t tell 2021 to hold its beer, we will be ok. Right?