2020: the year that was

2020, amirite? I feel like that date is going to end up as a shorthand for all of us who lived through it: for coronavirus and cloth masks and toilet paper shortages and social distancing and online church and political scandal and civil unrest and case counts and quarantines and the anti-mask lunatic fringe and allllllllllll the rest of it which, frankly, I’m pretty tired of talking and thinking about. The pandemic fatigue is real. We don’t need another post about why 2020 was kind of a dumpster fire, so here is another take — the things from 2020 that I want to remember as good and lovely. They may have been harder to see, but they were there.

First of the list, of course, is Tertia’s birth — this little bobobean filled a hole in our family we didn’t even know was there. She just slotted right in, and it’s been a joy and a wonder to have a baby in the family this year. She is a cheerful, amiable little person. We are so lucky to have her. And we were lucky in our timing as well — she arrived two weeks before her due date, which meant that we just missed out on the first wave of hospital restrictions. The first pandemic closures, while scary, also meant that instead of taking two weeks of paternity leave before going back to work, my husband was able to work from home for about her first twelve or thirteen weeks. It was a real blessing to have him around for the whole of that newborn stage.

The big kids — as we mostly call them these days — have been growing like crazy. We started formally homeschooling this fall as Anselm entered grade one. Perpetua is doing junior kindergarten and it’s been amazing to see how far she’s come with her letters, numbers, and early math just since September. Recently I did some organizing in the basement that left me with a spare large tub, which meant I could finally get all of our craft supplies in one place; it’s so much easier to do art stuff with them now. Anselm has lost two teeth and Perpetua makes me crack up on a daily basis. I’ve been very glad that they have a close relationship, especially this year when it’s been so difficult (or flat-out prohibited) to hang out with other kids. Right now they are being chess pieces and also in a high-jumping contest and a sack of javelins is apparently also involved (?). I don’t try to understand, I just enjoy.

It was a good year for baking! I learned to make sourdough and challah, sometimes on the same day, and I am happy to report that Sheryl, my sourdough starter, is now nine months old and still going strong.

I also made three birthday cakes this year. A strawberry bunny with strawberry icing for Perpetua, a London Fog cake for my husband, and a rainbow sprinkle cake for Anselm (the interior was yellow cake, with vanilla icing). Now, the ‘rainbow’ inside layers were really only discernible under a camera flash, and I learned that next time I should spring for the good old artificial colours instead of the naturally-derived ones… which apparently do nothing. But it was still delicious!

The decorations? Also strawberry.
The London Fog cake: chocolate cake, earl grey vanilla icing, and salted caramel drizzle — all from scratch!
The colours essentially baked themselves out; without the flash they were just variants of yellowy-brown. Oh, well.

It was a productive year for crochet. I completed 5 baby blankets, 6 dishcloths, 1 shawl, 1 decorative throw, 1 Christmas stocking, 1 hat, and 9 squares for my Eastern Jewels blanket. I also got about six or seven rows in to the 16 octagonal motifs for Eastern Jewels, and started a child’s scarf in the last few days of 2020 which I should finish tonight or tomorrow. It’s a fun, very ruffled self-drafted pattern and I’m looking forward to sharing that with you.

Because we bought our house late in the year in 2019, 2020 was our first full year here, and our first chance to experience the garden in the spring and summer. It was a delight to see all the flowers that came up in the spring, and wonderful to have such a nice big yard for the children to play in. The largest flower bed was extremely overgrown; we dug it out in the fall and are planning to put in raised beds for growing vegetables come spring.

What else, what else? I blogged some, I wrote some, I had a poem published, I read some wonderful books, and I continued to enjoy and achieved some personal goals in my favourite game. The recovery from my c-section was uneventful. I discovered, after nearly a year of living here, that there is a pull-out cutting board under one of our kitchen counters. Broadly speaking, we have been healthy, and even happy.

2020 had a lot of challenges. It’s been, at times, scary, frustrating, and lonely. But there are always things to be grateful for, even amid the other stuff. And I am grateful.