The End of 2020

How did we make it through this year? So many people have suffered or died or been kept apart from family and friends who were suffering and dying.

I’m not sure I’ve ever spent a Thanksgiving and a Christmas away from my family. This year we did.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt compelled to learn about anti-racism and really try to deepen the limited knowledge I have of it. This year I’ve read more and thought more and tried to teach my kids about what I’ve read and thought. I’ve joined a discussion group that reads and considers various articles and papers written about race relations in my professional field. This year I’ve had troubling conversations about race and white supremacy, much of the time with extended family.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so alone while being in the same room as all of my immediate family members. Facilitating distance learning is difficult. Assembling a makeshift gap year curriculum for my five-year-old is annoying and it makes me sad. Chasing my infant around the house while doing both of those things is exhausting.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so much as I have this year.

Of course there were many, many happy happenings in our household. But today, right now, I’m acknowledging the hard.

And we made it.

Christmas Card Picture

My Son and I Love Dory Fantasmagory

My oldest baby kid is in first grade. He is loud and energetic and currently obsessed with planes and robots. (Specifically, he is interested in a robot called Spot made by Boston Dynamics that can be purchased for $74,000. He is pondering where it will stay when Santa brings it to him on Christmas.)

“Honey, you’re not getting Spot for Christmas.”
“Why not?”
“That’s more than a car.”

“And they don’t sell it to individuals. It’s for companies.”
“Santa will bring it. It will stay in my room next to the RC plane.”
“Hm. You won’t be able sleep in your room. It’ll be too full.”
“That’s OK. I’ll sleep with you.”

He has high hopes for Santa. And for us (but let’s be honest, he sleeps with us more often than not).

This year has been unforgettable for so many crappy reasons. One of the good reasons, though, is that I will hopefully never forget that this was the year when my son really, really learned to read. He has been in full-time distance learning the entire year, and thankfully he has a great first grade teacher. Every day over these past few weeks the teacher has read one chapter from the fantastic Dory Fantasmagory series by Abby Hanlon.

There are five books in the series. It follows a little girl whose name is Dory, nicknamed Rascal. Rascal is the youngest of three kids and she has a wonderful, exuberant imagination wherein a villain named Mrs. Gobble Gracker tries to catch her to keep as her baby. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I bought the books from our neighborhood Wild Rumpus bookstore and watching my little guy thumb through the pages and describe certain illustrations to me from his car seat while we drove home was one of the most special moments in my parenthood to date. Because he knew what was coming, and because he knew he loved what was coming, we blew through the series. He even elected to go to bed early so that we could read two chapters instead of just one. We are done with the series and are now reading The Lulu Series by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith.

And now I want to write a children’s book. Agh. I don’t know how to do that…

Other news:

I wrote an article for one of my friends and colleagues who runs a music therapy private practice here in the Cities. Working and Parenting in the Pandemic offers insight into a few music therapists’ lives who try to manage their clients and their kids’ distance learning when it is nearly impossible.

Here’s to the end of 2020. 🙂