The Holiday Card Letter

Remember the folded up letters tucked inside greeting cards that were often printed out on Christmas-y stationary and several paragraphs of what the family has been up to? That is what this is. I have never done one and thought this would be the year to start. You may have already read my reflective posts below about how 2020 has been so I thought I would just try to give a nice little recap of the year since we hardly saw anyone this year except on social media. I have missed my long talks with friends and family, they’ve been far and few between. I know this is only a one-way conversation but it may still re-connect us a little. At least that is the hope.

This year was just as much a whirlwind for us as everyone else. We are grateful that we have not suffered greatly during this pandemic as other families have. We have our jobs, our home and health. I have been working from home since March 19th and Hugo’s school had shut down the week prior to that. This flipped our routine on its head. For the next few months, we reestablished what would come to be our new normal as we quietly watched the world reach where we find ourselves today. Seriously, what a ride.

The spring was spent in lockdown taking all the precautions. We didn’t see friends or family, we left surprises on the doorstep of family and waved from our car as we doorbell dashed, we zoomed, took long walks on the trail around our neighborhood, groceries were delivered, TP and sanitizer was scarce, and I just have to say—the world felt scary. The saving grace was the sense of security and calm I felt at home. I’ve never been more grateful for my introverted home body tendencies. I would seriously go full weeks without ever leaving the house apart from trail walks, and never got stir crazy. How weird am I? We got very creative about how to make the days feel different from one to the next. We planted some seeds to grow in little pods in our dining room that we transferred to pots on the patio. It went ok, we have LOTS to learn about gardening. Once the weather warmed up, casual play and picnics outside became the norm. Kris and I would often enjoy some wine on the patio while the kids played and it **KIND OF** felt like we were on a tiny date. We took the win. We celebrated the kids birthdays at home and family came for visits of well wishes on the patio.

Summer was full of outdoor play, outdoor toys, swimmies and water. As the temperatures got hotter, we invested in more shade devices so they didn’t bake and bake as they played for hours outside. The alternative was to spend time in the same place they had been for the last few months. The extension of our living space was needed. In July, Hugo’s school opened back up and we enrolled Hugo and Cora for two half days. It was a strange time to start Cora in school, but she hit the ground running and has loved every second. This was a really nice way to shake up the week and give the kids some other interactions. By this time, we would engage in small family gatherings where the kids could see their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And lastly, we took a handful of long weekends to Lake Tahoe where we spent both our birthdays. Sometimes just a Friday to Sunday, others a Thursday to Monday. Each time, we’d come home refreshed after the change of scenery. These really helped a pandemic summer move along. The kids absolutely loved playing in the sand at the beach. They were so content to stay and play. When Hugo and Cora were younger, beach days were exhausting because they’d want to be everywhere but our beach camp. Things clicked into place and made the time at the beach a joy for all.

As the fall semester approached, we were not anticipating me still working from home and for there to still be a pandemic. We toiled over what to do for Hugo as he was to enter the public school in our neighborhood and begin his Kindergarten adventure. We could not imagine him starting school within such uncertain times and resolved to enroll him for the private kindergarten at their pre-school. This was a relief and far less stressful then having to deal with the public school system (I love you educators!!! This was just new school mom jitters). And so, Hugo and Cora went off to school each day and our once exhausted nanny went from three wildlings to just one. We celebrated our eighth anniversary with a dinner out at the Wild River Grille. What a treat!

The fall was full of many things. The sky was full of smoke for so much of august and September, the philosophical divides between masks and presidents ravaged the headlines and the pandemic worsened. Around the time despair began to creep in to my feelings, Kris saved the day and invested in our physical and mental health with a Peloton exercise bike. I could have a whole post on all the ways this bike has made such a positive impact but the best thing about it was timing. For me, the world was feeling so ugly, and the community I was able to connect with, lessened those feelings. We spent Thanksgiving home, just us. I cooked the whole meal and enjoyed every single minute of it. Truly. Time in the kitchen, to work through the steps of a recipe, feels so satisfying. Perhaps it’s because a feeling of completion in parenthood or life in general is somewhat fleeting as things can often seem so endless (to do lists, cleaning, meals, repeat), the ability to start something and finish it brought me so much joy. It is funny though—more than a full day’s work was finished in about 15 minutes of sitting at the table and eating.  

As we near the end of the year, I don’t see much changing with the start of the new year. I know everyone is anxious to say goodbye to 2020, but I anticipate much of our daily life staying the same. I’ll continue to work from our downstairs office at home, the kids will be attending school with temperature screenings, we will likely continue to limit our socializing outside of family and will keep learning the lessons we’ve been learning all year. I’ll patiently wait for this pandemic to subside and for new versions of the old normal to return. While I will truly look back on this year as personally transformative, it was not without its challenges, despite the rosey memories I share above. Our marriage, parenting style, finances, friendships/relationships, and more, were hit with significant challenges that we continue to work through. Nobody said life was easy, that’s for sure. But just like all of you, we all have stories to share, and we hold on to the positive and let go of the negative. So I hope this blog post finds you healthy and happy and enjoying the holiday season, however you plan to spend it. I also hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how things have been for the Kent Family. I’m fine, we’re fine, its all fine. The end 😉

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