It is an understatement to suggest that this year has been tough. For everyone. And in now way do I want to feed into the toxic positivity that’s rampant online and strips us of our ability to feel comfortable sharing when we’re not ok. But this evening I’ll be having dinner with my family, and my extended family. Everyone is double vaxxed. We’ll be under our province’s limit for gatherings, but just. I can’t wait to gorge myself on turkey and wine and SO. MANY. HUGS.
I am more privileged than most. In spite of a job change that I was not anticipating and didn’t want, I was and am able to work from home. My husband was also able to work fully remotely. Both of my kids had the access to technology and devices necessary to continue with school. We have all had our moments but we also have access to online therapy.
I know we’re not out of the woods yet. That we still need to be cautious and take precautions. But with it being Thanksgiving, I can’t help but reflect on the things I am thankful for, thanks to the pandemic.
5 Things I Am Thankful For, Thanks to the Pandemic
1 — I Am Thankful for Family
When I mention family, it’s not just those I’m related to, or that I married. I’ve discovered that family extends to neighbours, and teammates. Those who sang my son “Happy Birthday” on his first pandemic birthday, about a month into the start of the lockdown. The small businesses we’ve come to rely on to keep us busy and active: the dance studio my daughter’s been attending since she was four. The gym that helped me discover my inner fighter.
But I do mean my family — my husband and kids. We took turns supporting each other. And I learned how much I can still learn. From my kids and from my husband. About accepting realities we have no control over and working towards the realities we want.
2 — I Am Thankful for Food
I did not bake a single loaf of sourdough bread. The yeast shortage did not affect me in the slightest. However we have added a certain feta and tomato pasta dish to our regular dinner lineup. (It’s also delicious made with goat cheese.)
But, thanks to the pandemic, I made school lunches at home for the better part of a year. Normally this would not be something to be happy about, but hear me out. My one kid has doubled his intake of vegetables thanks to my overseeing all of his eating. And the healthy eating has mostly been maintained since returning to school and school lunches.
3 — I Am Thankful for My (and My Family’s) Health
I lost an uncle in Scotland. He was in his 80s but still so full of life. Two other extended family members had very mild cases of Covid-19, and this was pre-vaccination. We have followed all recommended protocols and precautions and got vaccinated as soon as we could. I know the expectation is we will all get Covid at one point or another, but one of the things I am thankful for is that no one in my family has been sick.
We are taking extra steps and making extra efforts to maintain our health. We (all) exercise every day. I hand out a handful of vitamins every day. We eat healthy as a family and are encouraging one another to make good choices and be active. It’s truly something I hope has taken root and will stay with my kids for their whole lives.
4 — I Am Thankful for Science
Thanks to science, we have vaccines available that previously would have not been out for another year. And it’s thanks to the scientific community that these vaccines were made available that much sooner, not because steps were skipped or the process was rushed.
Thanks to science we are vaccinated years before we could have been previously and thanks to science we know what steps to take to bring us back to a newer, even better normal.
5 — I Am Thankful for the Future
As a family and as a community, we have lost so much thanks to the pandemic, certainly some of us more than others. But this time has afforded me the opportunity to figure out what matters to me. What matters to us as a family. We have the opportunity to cherry pick what we liked about our old lives and what we want for our new ones.
For my family, that means experiences over things. Let’s just say I’m not thankful for clutter. We had no way of knowing that our last trip in December of 2019 would be our last trip. So, when we can, we want to travel again. But in the meantime, we have loved exploring Ontario and worked on our backyard.
And now my kids are back in their activities and sports. The difference it’s made has been incredible. I’m thankful for a future where we can choose to keep going on previous paths and the freedom to decide if we want to discover new ones.
I hope that wherever and however you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, you can reflect on the things you are thankful for, too.