2020… yes, it sucked. For almost everyone.
To be honest, my year could have been so much worse. My family and I stayed healthy, we were able to work from home or on other projects, and the time gifted to our newly blended family was not just good. It was fantastic.
We started 2020 in a brand new house. It was actually our second house in 4 months. In the spring of 2019 I sold my house. The house I lived in when my marriage ended and after I lost my mom. The house that I thought might fix some broken pieces. And in some ways it did. I didn’t have the idyllic family moments there that I once envisioned. Kids walking across the street to school, my dad just down the street, my business right at home. Those things happened, just not the way I had predicted. Instead, I let things shatter and rebuild. I spent time with myself, my children, and roommates that became family. It was all messy and uncertain, and completely necessary.
As I did the work of rebuilding myself, I also started renovating my condo. It was a place I bought at a time when I needed something to be excited about and with a plan and dream of becoming something so much more. I spent my weekends, and any time without my children, tearing down walls, literally and figuratively. I fearlessly pulled up carpet, scraped ceilings, and picked out tile. To say I had no idea what I was doing is a complete understatement, but I was doing work that made me happy. I could envision the beauty at the end, even if I had no idea how I was going to get there.
As the project came towards a close, I decided it was time to sell my house. It was too big, too lonely, and too expensive. I lost my dear roommate to her new love and knew that this chapter of my life was coming to a close. I had no idea what was in store, but I started by opening the possibilities way up. I contemplated a tiny house pretty seriously for awhile. A knee-jerk reaction to the cavernous home that still felt empty. I wanted love to fill my house up completely, with no extra space just for stuff. I toyed with the idea of moving into my condo, starting a new life in the mountains where I felt no weight from my previous life. The need to keep things stable for my kids kept me from doing all sorts of crazy things. A new love kept me from rushing into a decision. I decided to go to Hawaii. My happy place since the first time I stepped off the plane and smelled the plumeria and felt the ocean breeze. The only place that felt like home at the time.
I sold the house, sold my stuff, and packed the rest into a storage unit and my dad’s basement. I planned to spend about a month on the island of Maui, two weeks with my kids and three without. Counting down to my getaway, and accidentally falling in love in the background, I spent the days I had my kids living with my dad, and the rest were spent working on finishing the condo. I was stubborn and selfish about my recovery. I had been through a lot in the past few years, losing my mom and other family members, losing my marriage, and burning myself badly in a freak accident. I was not in a hurry to connect myself to anyone. I admit I lost that battle with myself as soon as I felt safe and loved. Nothing scary to fight against, and no reasons to be stubborn. Just a lot of quiet knowing. My first love, was now my last. Simple and easy despite all the complications that could have been. Nothing forced or rushed, and all the parts that just fit in ways you didn’t know could be just that easy.
By the time I left for Hawaii, we had decided to buy a house together. An acre for our kids to run around on and a new place to stitch our lives and families together. He signed the papers while I was on the island and moved us in.
My first two weeks in Hawaii were exciting, fun and full of sand, salt and sea air. My kids enjoyed being close to the ocean and we started exploring the island. I did not feel well.
By the time I put my kids on an overnight direct flight back home, I was pretty suspicious that something was going on. I broke the news to a very excited dad-to-be that our crazy family of 6 was about to be 7, and then I’m pretty sure I surrendered to the nausea. My oldest friend and her sweet baby came over from Australia to spend some time with me. It was fantastic, a much needed and lovely way to spend the beach time.
Fast forward to coming home and moving in. We started making plans for the house, told the kids they were getting a sibling, told the exes and family members. Learned to live all together. It was joy and chaos, and wtf, and omg and love.
At one point I realized we had made a big mistake living that far away from the kids school and activities. And no matter how many ways we looked at finishing the basement, or dividing up the rooms, there was never going to be enough space once this little munchkin arrived. We decided to move back. It was insane. I’m lucky my realtor is a friend. He happily re-listed and sold our house in a few weeks. We bought the perfect sized house back in my old neighborhood. We can see the mountains, and there’s room to be together, and also apart. No extra space for just stuff but all the space we need for the love. It’s perfect.
Our baby boy was born as the season of crazy began. One week before they shut everything down and stopped letting people visit, we were in and out in less than 48 hours. Although it was not an easy birth, he was here and we were all in love.
There’s something special about having a baby long after you think you are done with all that, long after you’ve gotten rid of all the baby stuff and forgotten the sleepless nights and dirty diapers. For me, I realize what an insane gift it is to not only have these little people in our lives but for them to have each other. Hudson fit like the glue right in the middle of us all. We adore and enjoy every second of him, knowing how fast it all goes and that there will be time on the other side. We appreciate the now.
Covid brought tons of anxiety and worry for our new baby, our extended family, and ourselves. We baked bread like everyone else, and tried to just enjoy the time together. The first 9 months of Hudson’s life, he was surrounded by siblings and both parents. He knows nothing but love and attention. (we’ll deal with the repercussions of that later!)
2020 brought major change to all our lives. I learned so much about appreciating who and what you have, doing things with intention, not just as a reaction. Spending time listening to myself, and trusting my gut. I go into 2021 happily growing my business with intention, the way I want to do it, and loving my family for all the imperfection and crazy that make us, us. I don’t think I’ve ever had a year with so much uncertainty and change, and yet I feel more grounded and stable than ever. I have a lot of people to thank for that, but ultimately I know that getting to this place required all the moments that led up to it. I will enjoy and appreciate this season of life and all it brings because I know that change is inevitable.
What has this season brought for you that was unexpected or joyful despite all the challenges?