We’re just a couple weeks shy of the new year and this is definitely the time where I turn inward and start reflecting on what the past year has brought me.
2020… it sure was a doozy, right? A let down in so many ways. So many plans cancelled. So many family and friends we didn’t see. So many struggles for so, so many.
I truly feel blessed in many ways thinking about how my family and friends have all been safe and healthy. I don’t take it for granted one bit because I know and see just how trying and heartbreaking 2020 has been for countless people, businessowners, and families who have lost loved ones (especially working in a health care system.)
With all the darkness, there’s light somewhere – somehow. It peeks through.
I’m sitting here, looking for the light, and I see it.
As I reflect on 2020, there are a few things that come to mind that have made it brighter for me.
Sam and I had so much quality time together — and — with Henry.
For the first couple months, Sam was out of work after our cross-country move and looking for new opportunities. Henry and “Dada” bonded big time as I started my new role in the city. Then, Covid happened, and my office job turned into a WFH job, and the three of us were all home together, all the time.
We had a fun little routine going. 😛
We’d get up, have coffee, make breakfast, go on a walk around the park in town, and come back to get the day started. Sam was on full daddy-duty and I was working at my “hoffice” in the other room. We’d spend breaks and lunches together—and often go outside for fresh air.
Those summer days were the best.
Read: How I Accidentally Spent The Last Year At Home
I found so much joy in these special moments as a family of three. Sure, it was stressful at times with Sam out of work and trying to focus on work tasks and projects with a baby clinging to me at home, but I wouldn’t trade that quality time for anything.
Sam, of course, ended up finding a new job at his former company (funny enough), and our time at home together came to a bitterweet end.
But, oh, how delicate and precious a time it was. A sweet summer of our family together—something we never could have imagined happening after moving our life back to MA on January 9th.
I fell in love with my new job.
After working so many years in the entertainment industry in the busy city of LA (and loving it!), I didn’t quite know how I’d adjust to a slower pace of life and work back in Massachusetts. After almost a year in my new(ish) role, I’m happy to report that I love it. I love my team, department, working in health care, and taking on more responsibilities as a digital manager.
Feeling less stressed in my role has done wonders for my general happniess and well being. I think I became used to running on empty in my former job, working many nights and weekends in TV. It’s nice to be able to press pause on work now and settle into my home life for quiet time. That work/life balance is a real thing! It’s extremely important to me.
As the months have gone on, I have continued to feel very thankful to simply have a job, let alone one I enjoy remotely “going to” each and every day.
As so many others have been laid off, furloughed or struggled to make ends meet finanicially this year, I look up and see a roof over my head and weekly paychecks deposited in my online banking app — and feel a surge of gratefulness for this life and the opportunites I have to give Henry the best life possible.
We saved money.
Living in an apartment and not spending as much on travel, outings, restaurants and everything else “normal living” brings, we were able to consistently save money this year for our future home.
I haven’t talked about it much on the blog, but we spent the better part of 2020 looking for our first home in Central MA. From about April to now, we’ve walked through 40 open houses and have made five offers on homes we loved. Unfortunately, we weren’t the chosen ones and have yet to land on “the one”, but we are feeling more driven, educated and hopeful than ever before that 2021 will hold our new home.
Since we’ve been able to continue saving, we feel like we’ll be in an even better position next year when it comes to scoring the home of our dreams.
And, wow, if you or anyone you know is buying right now…. man, this really is a seller’s market! Every house we have loved has gone for $10-$20K over asking price. The competition is steep!
Henry had a sweet 1st birthday party.
Though we didn’t end up having the ultimate backyard birthday bash for Henry’s first trip around the sun we were envisioning, we threw the little guy a fun celebration in our backyard with our parents and siblings.
It ended up being super fun and everyone had a blast showering the bday boy with presents, cake, and love.
I maybe went a little overboard on the theme.
We had our first full Fall in New England in almost seven years. (Say that three times fast.)
My favorite season.
Getting to show Henry the wonders of Autumn on the east coast was a joy this year. The colors, the fresh apple cider, cool crisp air, scenic hikes… all of it!
READ: Fall In New England
I also really like that my birthday is in the fall. It allows me to do all my most favorite things. This past October, I went apple picking with Henry and my Mom at Bolton Spring Farm and enjoyed a tasty lunch at Birchtree Bread Company.
Sure, it was a very COVID birthday with masks and social distancing, but it was so special for me to have the day with those I love, doing things that bring me happiness.
I still can’t believe I live here (again) and am now raising my son near my family. Life comes full circle.
Showing Henry all the best parts of Maine.
One of the best highlights of 2020 for me was bringing Henry up to Maine and showing him all the places and things I’ve experienced there all my life.
Ever since I was born, my parents would bring me and my brother up to their Wells condo. As we grew older, we started going to Kennebunk where they have a beach house. Showing Henry all around the coast towns (even though he won’t remember it 😂), has brought me immense joy. Watching him take in the sights and sounds of the area that I love feels so priceless.
Woah… eating is exhausting.
I am looking forward to many vacations and beach days up in Maine with my little family.
READ: Maine, The Way Life Should Be
Seeing our families so much.
One of the absolute best things to come out of 2020 was living near our parents/siblings again and getting to see them much more than we have in the past seven years while living in LA.
Our families have been able to watch Henry grow, take care of him, have sleepovers and get to see Sam and I as new parents. You know, all those grandparent things they’ve been waiting for. 🤗
Having that support system as a new mom has been a gamechanger for me—especially as a working mom who’s trying her best to juggle many things at once. Being able to turn to my family for help with Henry is truly wonderful. I’m very grateful for them all, and their desire to be involved.
It takes a village, guys. It’s true.
Well, that’s about it.
The silver lining of a year we’ll never forget.
I’ll have to sit Henry down one day and fill him in on everything that was 2020.
A wild ride, but worth retelling… even if only to share the brighter sides.