2020: A Debrief

By Natalie

Is it too late to share a Christmas photo? We’ve had a slow start to our new year which has been a lovely way to start fresh. Last year we experienced our own set of hardship and grief for experiences lost. But by this point we’ve created a new normal, incorporating some new routines that have helped keep us going. This post I suppose is somewhat of a debrief.

Last Spring we started a Sunday tradition of going for a drive while we listen to a sermon or the bible and we pick up donuts. One Sunday we went uptown to pick up donuts from a favorite coffee shop. Felicity was giddy that we were getting out but we weren’t eating in the coffee shop nor were we up for walking the streets that morning. When we promptly walked back to the car she didn’t throw a big tantrum but she instead sat silently in her car seat, the whole way home pouting while she looked out the window. It felt worse than a tantrum. It seemed like she felt she was being punished but didn’t know why. Brandon and I were heartbroken. As much as we wanted to take her out and explore we just didn’t feel comfortable with taking her all over the city. It’s hard to explain to a two year old why we can’t do more. But a two year old, these are children who test boundaries, lay on floors, lick things, touch things they shouldn’t, pick their noses, they’re precisely an awful age for trying to keep away from germs. Recently when we showed up to the store Felicity said, “I need a mask!” We hadn’t put one on her since she was still little, but she started to ask to wear one which we obliged for however long she wanted to keep it on. She seemed to be feeling uncomfortable without one, like she was left out.

I read an article the other day with the title, Parents of Toddlers Take a Breath. It’s agenda was to reassure parents that their toddlers would be just fine when this was all over. That we shouldn’t be concerned about how they’ll act socially, because toddlers are adaptable and they will bounce back. That’s great to hear. All fine and good, but what about how we feel as parents? Brandon and I struggled with not being able to give Felicity the life we had planned for her. We felt like our two year old hated us. Though deep down we know she didn’t, we hated that we were forced to become parents who said no to things we would typically be ok with. Though she may bounce back we knew we may not. We may always be saddened by the loss of experiences with our first child’s second year in life.

Toward the end of the year, when the zoom calls started to fizzle out I felt that friendships had taken on their own fair share of strain in 2020. What was there to talk about anymore? Not only were everyone’s date nights on the back burner but friend get togethers were minimal. I missed my friends but also didn’t even know what to talk to them about. It seemed that we were all trying our best to navigate these difficult times with our young families and had little energy to be intentional with one another.

We cancelled a trip in March and were homebound for most of the summer. In November we decided to take our little animal lover to the zoo and we had possibly the best day we’ve ever had with her. She was an angel, so attentive and happy to be there. She was so happy I think to be out anywhere and we were too. Asking her questions about our zoo trip remains the only thing that will keep her sitting still at the table for a meal.

She now asks us daily if we are going to the zoo, so we decided to sign up for a zoo membership and have that frame our 2021. Yesterday morning we told her that mama and Lici were going to the zoo. Imagine you just told a kid they were going to Disney World. The zoo is her Disney World.

We saw a grizzly bear eating popcorn and sweet potato which she thought was hilarious. We fed the lorikeets, pet the goats, saw lots of active snakes and heard the tiger roar. Her love for animals is so great. Just as her obsession for chocolate has spurred on my own, her love for animals has shown me what incredible creatures are on the earth. They bring us both great joy during a time that could seem so bleak.

Though 2020 is far from what we expected we try to remind ourselves to look at the good things that came out of it. Perspective can be everything. Having Brandon working from home again was an answer to prayer, which has given us lots more family time. Our introverted natures have thrived and I feel like our creativity was at a peak last year though my love for reading had dwindled. I read a record low 5 books last year which saddens me. I know someone’s going to roll their eyes at this! But it does sadden me! There are only so many books one can read in a lifetime, to lose out on a year where I had no thirst for reading is devastating. But, alas, I set a new reading goal for myself in 2021. I spent the last hours of 2020 reading a new book until I fell asleep just before midnight. I have since finished it, then another, now onto my third which I’m taking as a sign to expect great things this year!

And there are some great things on the horizon that I can already see. Brandon and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in May. Felicity turns 3. I turn 30 (Whatttt?). And lastly I’m hoping to get all my ducks in a row this year and finally start on a new creative venture. I feel that we’re moving in the right direction as the years fly by. We’re constantly planning and then throwing that plan away and finding another. 2020 taught us to be light on our feet and to take charge of things that weren’t working for us and make them work!

I wish much love, hope, answered prayers and peace to you in this new year. I never got a Christmas card out so let’s just say this is it and call it a happy new year! ⇓

2 Comments on 2020: A Debrief

  1. Kathie
    January 15, 2021 at 4:43 am (3 years ago)

    Hapoy New Year Natalie and Brandon! I enjoyed reading your Blog. Felicity is a sweetie! I’m glad you get to go to the zoo. I really like animals too. We have a cat that we really enjoy named Sky. She loves to hide and jump out and surprise us when we walk past her hiding spot. Haha! Eliky and Jed have baby #2 due in about 10 days. It’s a girl and they are naming her Haddasah Jade. Amber and Jacob’s second child is due in 5 weeks. It’s a boy. They don’t have a name for him yet. Your family pictures are so beautiful! Love you guys!

    • Natalie
      January 18, 2021 at 1:25 am (3 years ago)

      Happy new year! That’s all so great to hear!


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