Well we made it. It’s finally the end of what will go down in history as “THAT truly shitty year”. That life-changing, heartbreaking, painstaking, awful year. The year COVID-19 took on the human race, and for a while, won.
We may not be out of the woods, but there is still a sense of relief that 2020 is over. There’s still some satisfaction in closing the book of 2020 and beginning afresh. The yet-to-be-published, unwritten, untouched and untainted story of 2021.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it is to count my blessings. It is that the little things, like popping over to see my parents, meeting a friend –indoors– for coffee or taking Maia out for a play date, are not quite so little, but actually a lifeline. Other lifelines include Zooming friends, mindless Instagram scrolling and adding books to my basket on Amazon that may or may not be eventually purchased. Rushed five minute catch ups in the school playground have also boosted me up and out of some low ebbs on particularly dark days. (During the chunks of time Maia was actually in school).
Netflix, iPlayer and Amazon Prime continue to play their part in the daily challenge that is “keeping us all sane”. They serve as necessary escapism during more ordinary times, so have been another absolute lifeline during the pandemic. Like the rest of the population we got through Normal People in the early lockdown days, followed by Us, Life and a selection of others later on in the year.
Talking to friends has been the glorious reminder that I do exist, very occasionally, outside of the role of “Mummy” and that sometimes I am just “Angie”; loyal friend and confidante; and there are things going on in other people’s lives I’d quite like to hear about. Especially this year. Any bit of news that isn’t COVID-related has been a sweet welcomed break. Two of my best friends got engaged a few weeks ago and I squealed with genuine excitement upon finding out both times. Happy news and a joyful nudge to remember that life is still happening amid all the messy darkness.
I have a great deal to be grateful for this year, and then some, for this was the year I gave birth to my second child. Nothing says F*** you COVID like giving birth. I’ll never forget the moment my amazing midwife Lu, seeing that I was struggling to cope with the pain of labour and in need of something more than reassurance and eye contact, decided to momentarily break the COVID rules and pull her mask down, she smiled and said “Look I have a face, see!”.
We welcomed baby Leo into our family in August and for a few short weeks existed in a sweet-haven-bubble of baby joy. I thank the Universe that for those few weeks, in our household, you would not know any life-threatening virus even existed. It was magical.
Then Maia went back to school and we started watching more of the news and before we knew it we were members of the outside world again and the life-threatening virus very much existed.
Christmas was not cancelled, the spirit was very much alive in our home, but it was definitely strange not being with my parents on the day. I felt a tad emotional, and there was definitely a weirdness in the air, but seeing Maia so excited opening her presents more than made up for it.
Whilst there are clouds of uncertainty hovering over 2021, we can be sure its story already looks brighter than that of its prequel. It will no doubt be rocky at first but no storm lasts forever. Even a shit storm like this one. There is, after all, light at the end of the tunnel. Light and love and joy and all the good things.
20 things that have made me happy this year:
1. Giving birth and going through it with my partner. (*And demanding that he too “pull down his mask” so I could see him properly).
2. Getting a McDonalds breakfast after my waters had broken on the way back from the hospital.
3. Watching Grace and Frankie all day long with Maia and our newborn.
4. Laughing at everything and nothing with my partner at 2am when Leo was wide awake.
5.Watching my children grow.
6. Seeing Maia read to herself.
7. Putting up Maia’s art work.
8. Making Leo laugh.
9. Watching Leo roll onto his front.
10. Seeing my parents with Leo.
12. Getting paid to write, interviewing people and telling their stories.
13. The acquisition of Disney Plus and the movie Soul.
14. Reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle.
15. Exclusively Breastfeeding.
16. Socially distant walks with friends.
17. Chanting on Zoom with a very good friend, it’s grounding.
18. Dancing to Little Mix with Maia.
19. Decorating the children’s bedrooms and painting the kitchen wall yellow.
20. Painting the landing wall all of the colours.
25 things I look forward to in 2021:
1. Giving my Dad a hug.
2. Visiting my Aunty inside her home.
3. Watching my children grow.
4. Seeing Maia’s reading continue to improve.
5. Making Leo laugh.
6. Writing and posting more on the blog.
7. Getting paid to write and tell peoples’ stories.
8. Connecting with other writers, bloggers and creatives.
9. Using my “good camera” more.
10. Getting my hair cut by a professional.
11. Taking Maia and Leo to the beach.
12. Taking Maia and Leo absolutely anywhere.
13. Going to London, in particular the theatre.
15. Reading all the brilliant books I was given for Christmas and re-reading everything by Eckhart Tolle.
16. Chanting more regularly.
17. Seeing friends I didn’t see at all in 2020.
18. Meeting Mums from my online NCT antenatal group.
19. In-person baby groups.
20. Taking Leo swimming.
21. Spending more time with my annoying cousins.
22. Going running.
23. Painting more walls.
24. Building my immaculate yet colourful capsule wardrobe.
25. Finally finishing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. (It’s a 12 week course).