The year that’s been

2020 what a year. What a disastrous, challenging, terrifying, bizarre year it has been. We usually spend New Years eve with very dear friends, braaiing, drinking, swimming. This year we aren’t. We had a special family dinner at 5pm, put the kids down to sleep and are now sitting on the couch in our jammies…And like with many things in 2020, we could be, should be, bemoaning what we’re missing out on, but instead, I find myself thinking of all that I’ve been grateful for this year.

I am grateful for our health and the health of our family, especially my sister who is an ICU nurse and quite literally on the front-lines. She is exhausted, she has been through more than I would ever want her to go through, but she’s healthy, and for that I am so thankful. My Dad is technically a high risk individual being over 60, and seeing clients each day, many of them intolerant and rebellious against regulations and procedures put in place to keep everyone safe in his surgery, he has the potential to be exposed quite easily. I’m so grateful for his health.

The lockdown has knocked our economy to it’s knees. I was not spared. I run my own consultancy, and the lockdown in March caused some existing clients and potential clients to not move forward with contracts, and my income dried up. This meant that most of my savings for maternity leave were spent by the time Isla was born, and I had to take on work soon after her birth. Although not ideal, I am grateful for the fact that I have been able to find new clients in these tough economical times, and have some really exciting things that I am looking forward to for 2021. I am also beyond thankful that my husband has a steady income that has kept us warm and dry.

On the topic of Husbands, I don’t have the words to describe how thankful I am for mine. His patience, hard work, optimism and love know no bounds. He has been the glue that has held this family together this year while I have had my little wobblies. I know that so many relationships have taken a knock, couples we know that have been together as long as we have and seemed as solid have called it quits and some are on the rocks. It’s heartbreaking. It makes me so thankful that despite everything that’s happening, I still have someone to love unconditionally and who loves me back the same.

While we may have missed out on going “places” and doing “things” because of lockdown and trying to avoid the virus, we have learned to be grateful and happy in our little home. Hannah has spent so much time with her Daddy that she never would have had if it weren’t for lockdown. In this year where she has grown from being a baby in January into an amazing, mature for her age little girl in December, she has had her Daddy almost constantly by her side. It’s not been easy for him managing his work and her constant demands for hide and seek or runs in the garden, but I’m so grateful that they have been able to be together in these formative months.

2020 was a scary time to be pregnant. Nobody could clearly tell you what would happen if you got the virus while pregnant, most medications would be out of the question, and there wasn’t (still isn’t) clear evidence to say what effect it would have on your unborn baby. Up until a week before Isla was born, Husbands weren’t allowed in to visit after the baby’s birth. I am so grateful that rule changed in time for Jared to visit me, even if he couldn’t see Isla.

Isla. Oh how grateful I am for our Isla. I am grateful I was able to carry her and keep her healthy. I am grateful that her Dad was with me at her birth, I am eternally grateful for the medical miracle workers that cared for her in the NICU. I am grateful that she is here. I battled so much during the first few weeks of her life, I thought I’d never see the light and we’d made a terrible mistake. I was so wrong. She is the best thing that has happened to us this year, and I’m thankful for her bubbly little personality and easy-going nature. I’m grateful for every little smile and gurgle, chuckle and coo. The bond that is developing between her and Hannah is indescribable, and I am so excited to see how it will grow.

I’m grateful for the lessons that 2020 has taught me, the biggest one of which is to let it go (and not only because I’ve watched Frozen about a hundred times!). There is so much in life that we can’t control, so much that we try to micro-manage, and when those things go wrong it causes so much stress and grief. There is also only so much we can control, and that circle of control starts and ends with us. We can’t control the weather, the government, the behavior of other people, but we can control how we respond to them and to our circumstances.

At the beginning of 2020, the people of KZN were marveling at the migration of the white butterflies that was quite exceptional. For many people it was the first time they’d seen or noticed it, but to me, they were the “December butterflies”. We usually have at least a few day’s in the berg every year around December, and they are one of the things that symbolize the end of a year to me, like mince pies and gammon, it isn’t December without the butterflies. We were lucky enough to spend Christmas at our family cottage this Christmas, and I was quite taken aback at how emotional the butterflies made me. So much had happened this year, but there they were, flying down the mountains, oblivious to the mayhem around them. It reminded me that life goes on, no matter what happens, time marches forward. Seasons change, days, weeks, months, years tick by, butterflies migrate. We will never get this time back again, we need to treasure it, hold our loved ones close and be thankful for what we have, despite what is going on in the world.

We’ve survived 2020. It’s given us some amazing things. Time together as a family, a new daughter, life lessons learned. It’s been a sh**show for most of the world, there’s no denying that, but I have to hang on to the good that did happen, and hope that 2021 will be better for us all.

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