20 Things I Want to Remember About 2020

Today, the last day of my gratitude challenge, I posted 20 things I want to remember about 2020. The deep sacrifices made to save lives. The ways people spoke out about injustice. And the sometimes stunning silver linings.

  1. How I skimmed the articles about COVID-19 in January, thinking it wouldn’t affect me.
  2. How much health care workers sacrificed. How incredibly hard their lives had become.
  3. How many people lost their jobs.
  4. How much everyone sacrificed to keep each other alive.
  5. How resilient everyone was. How people worked so hard to find alternatives.
  6. How many people could not hug their loved ones goodbye.
  7. How many of the parents I work with, who were the newest to this country, worked the hardest.
  8. How one mom, in particular, would call me for help each day and how she had no interest when I told her that her daughter didn’t need to do every assignment.
  9. Watching a video with that mom of caterpillars turning into butterflies. How her breath was taken away. How parents learned alongside their kids this year.
  10. How when Distance Learning was less structured last spring, my own kids would have recess every day together for an hour. How they hadn’t played together that much in years.
  11. How before 2020, my high school friends and I were so busy carting our kids to activities that we hadn’t talked on the phone in years. But we met on zoom for hours each month.
  12. How jobs that had previously gone unappreciated became essential. The huge sign hung up in the window of my neighborhood grocery store, thanking the workers.
  13. How my gym’s zoom classes got better and better. How we worked out in the parking lot under the shade of a huge tree last summer.
  14. How resilient I realized I was. How I went from letting kids use chrome books a couple of times a week to teaching online and, somehow, figured it out.
  15. How the meditation retreat I go to for a week every year was online this year. How my daughter joined me, getting up early and sitting until late at night, chanting ancient chants.
  16. How we wore our masks, cut peonies from our garden, and went to George Floyd’s memorial site. How we felt the grief and the determination.
  17. How I joined a silent march led by Clergy of Color and marched past the members of the National guard. Dressed in camouflage with rifles strapped to their backs. Helicopters looming overhead.
  18. How much money and time people gave to rebuild what had burned down, to clean up the rubble, to support families.
  19. How President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris won the election. How I cried as Kamala spoke beautiful, humane words in her white suit.
  20. How nurses and doctors I know posted pictures of themselves getting the vaccine in December. Thanking the scientists at Pfizer.

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