I’m late to the party. I didn’t feel like I really had time to collect my thoughts on how I feel like the year 2020 went. In fairness, I felt like I had to answer the same questions the kids answered so I’ll give you the cliff’s notes version.
My favorite color is green, my favorite food is salad or steak, my favorite sweet treat is cookie cake and my favorite sport is volleyball!
Now that that is out of the way, here is what I really think…
I think in a lot of ways there has been deep beauty in this year. For example, we all learned or relearned the importance of the family meal. With no restaurants or fast food to pick up and nowhere to go families spent more time in their kitchen. The Dorsey kids learned how to cook and bake. We made a lot of memories around our kitchen counter in 2020. We also tried new foods. Things I wouldn’t have had the time or patience to cook in a normal year have now become a staple in our rotation of dinners.
I think most people learned the value of a teacher. As we were all thrust into homeschooling our kids we learned that being the teacher isn’t as easy as it may seem. I think most people also gained respect for how hard these people were willing to work to engage their kids in an impossible situation for everyone. I think most people realize that teaching isn’t a job everyone can do. As a teacher I definitely appreciated the overall growth in respect for a very important and meaningful profession.
I think everyone got outside more. I know we Dorsey’s spent a lot time outside. We went fishing nearly everyday. We went on hikes, daily bike rides, played soccer games, pet our neighbors animals, ran with our dog, climbed trees, “built” tree houses and dug holes looking for treasures like rocks or worms. We swam in our pond (something I’m still trying to adjust to) and my sister’s pool and had water fights and obstacle courses in the driveway. We roller bladed and jammed out to tunes. We played in the barn a lot.
The amount of physical activity we did as a family was outrageous and we are already pretty active people. All the time we spent exploring together was by far, my favorite part of the quarantine. I saw our children take chances, experience the awe and wonder of our beautiful world and really bond as siblings. If there is anything more rewarding than that as a parent, I don’t know what it is!
Our children learned the value of writing hand written notes to family and friends. I loved seeing their faces light up when new letters arrived and seeing how much they poured into the letters they wrote was pretty special. In my opinion, the best present is a thoughtful hand written note.
Another bonus was the overall time spent together as families. With nowhere to go and nothing to do (activities, one sport to the next etc) we were home…every night. We played every single board game in the house. We painted canvases and rocks and created masterpieces together. We laughed a lot. We made s’mores by the fire and played charades. We watched a lot of movies and ate a lot of popcorn.
Movie night was another of my favorites. We watched classics like “Remember the Titans” and “Miracle.” We watched movies that were terrible that I can’t even remember the names of now. Bryan and I would laugh after the kids went to bed at how bad some movies are! I think, at least for our family, we all got to know each other better. When you are with someone 24 hours a day and you eat every meal together and play every game together you really get to know a persons quirks. I will forever be grateful for all this extra time I got with my family.
Our family got to go to the lake 3 times last summer. The lake was a perfect socially distanced vacation and our family made some amazing memories with our families and friends. Getting to see my SJA friends Greg and Elainey and watching our children bond with people who have been an important part of my life and my evolution as a teacher, coach and parent made me heart grow. They sure do love going to see Greg and Elainey (so do I). We also got to spend time with my sister and friends at a lake house and watching our kids have a blast was amazing as well. Finally, our trip to Branson with the Dorsey/Hall cousins is always one of the kids favorite things. I felt blessed that these things were still possible despite what was going on.
On the flip side, 2020 was a great challenge. As a person that struggles deeply with uncertain times 2020 was a challenge for me in many ways. The not knowing what would happen or when it would happen and not having any control over any of it was and continues to be, a daily battle for me.
Many people had uncertainty about their jobs, including us. Many even lost their jobs all together. For about half of the calendar year we lived with the uncertainty of Bryan’s employment. Gratefully, he remained employed and I cannot tell you how wonderful that is…but the fear that existed on a daily basis of the “what if” was definitely not a favorite part of the last year for our family.
The division in our nation is another low for me. Why there has to be so much debate about things like masks vs. no masks, Trump vs. Biden, I will never know. We absolutely are entitled to our opinions but the hate that topics like this espoused on a regular basis was overwhelming and frankly, disappointing. I don’t understand why our politicians have to set such a terrible example for the young people of today that bad mouthing your opponent is a good strategy for winning or accomplishing your goal. It makes my stomach turn.
The disappearance of sports was a great challenge. Aside from the entertainment value of sports, I hated not being in organized sports myself. The kids missed sports as well. Thankfully we have a gym in our front yard that kept us all busy, but most people had little to no access to sports and that worried me on many levels. For the young men and women I teach and coach I had severe concerns for their mental health.
When sports reemerged the changes there were also challenging. The we may or may not have a season moment to moment, scheduling on the fly and of course playing and practicing in masks were all less than ideal and created stress for all involved. Seeing my former players college seasons get cancelled broke my heart.
My mom experienced considerable health complications this year and on May 5, 2020 I had to leave her at the hospital…alone, definitely one of the worst days of 2020. For those that know me best, they know this was a major challenge.
While my return to the classroom sure beat online teaching doing it in masks and socially distanced has not been my favorite. Yet, I am not taking for granted the fact that I am IN school and that my children are IN school. For that I am incredibly grateful!
I think perhaps my greatest disappointment of 2020 is that I felt like the return to a much calmer, less busy hustle and bustle life with no school and no sports would make the world have a different approach to those things when we returned to them. In my experience, it made a lot of the things that were bad in those departments, particularly sports, worse.
At the end of the day 2020 had way more good in it than it did bad…at least for me. I realize my experience is not a reflection of everyone else’s. There were hardships, stresses and struggles but above all of these things I got quality time with the people I love most in this world and nothing can take that away from me. I will always have this year and the memories of all the things we got to do in spite of a global pandemic and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Perhaps the bigger “story” here is that there is truly good and bad in everything. The lens which we choose to look at what’s happening around us controls our outlook and maybe more importantly, our attitude.
So I will choose to look back at 2020 and focus my energy on the good. Lucky for me and our children I have kept this “journal” of the past year of our lives and we will be able to laugh about all of it one day…probably many days…down the road.