The year poured out like molasses on cold toast...ever so slowly.
We got three months to the gallon of gas as all of humanity hit "PAUSE" in an historic year controlled by a novel coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China. For reasons I don't understand, the most brilliant minds of the world couldn't come up with a way to mitigate/control/cure this virus before it killed hundreds of thousands of people across every continent, valleys and mountains, time zones, demographics, race, creed and color.
TO protect ourselves, we were told to STAY SAFE/STAY HOME and to WEAR A MASK, to Stay 6 feet away from others, and to use hand sanitizer like our lives depended upon it.
I've journaled my experiences throughout this whole thing so I won't go into much else--besides, if you're reading this in 2020, you already know what 2020 has been like for our country and our world. I don't think I have anything original to say about it.
Mostly, I'm grateful to have gotten through the year without having been infected. Not me, not my family--which are all over the western/southwestern US. Even our youngest daughter who moved to Phoenix, Arizona in the Spring to become an essential worker with her older sister, each avoided getting the virus. I am most grateful for the protection we've had, and can only attribute this to answered prayers.
My focus tonight is to share what it's been like for us as a family:
Starting with our move from Eugene, OR to Canby, OR. on February 24th, 2020. We knew noone here and honestly, aside from a couple of people who've reached out via phone calls from our ward, we still know noone. I can recognize two people who work at the Post Office, and our doctors. It is weird to be invisible in the community you live in during a pandemic. It's been awfully quiet. Mr W worked from home since two weeks after we moved here and still is. We felt impressed not to purchase a home here, so we're tucked in a gated apartment community with our dogs. With nothing but time on my hands, I worked on my art skills and took to sending out cards to everyone I thought could use a bit of sunshine--all over the world. (That's how I know the PO workers!) I took more commissions this year than any other, especially in the Spring and Fall. It blessed my life to have something to do with my days.
Also, all of the husbands in the family worked from home and kept their employment so that we didn't have that extra burden of job insecurity that many faced. Tisha, our DIL, is a teacher in the Boise area, and she had a few hurdles to be able to teach remotely and face-to-face in smaller classes. Her school district clearly wasn't ready for this situation, as many adaptions evolved.
Our missionary, Joseph, reported to his mission a year from today, actually. Just before coronavirus seized the world. He barely got into his area and through one transfer, when he took a bumpy ride through a couple more transfers--which involved a few moves around and new companions in each instance. Missionaries were sent home in the thousands, tens of thousands across the world to get each missionary back to their home land. They had between 24-36 hours' notice in some cases. The church also went through some rollercoaster adjustments to meet different countries' evacuation mandates. Luckily, our son got to stay out, but it wasn't easy as missionaries went into isolation lock downs. It was hard. No in person teaching or meeting with other people--in some weeks they couldn't even meet with other missionaries. Our son was feeling the effects of this and wondered if he was able to endure this kind of life. He was homesick and talked about coming home several times. Our whole family supported him with many calls and letters and Amazon deliveries of treats and vitamins, games and distractions to kill time. At one point, in March, I ordered a WELCOME HOME banner, in case he decided to come home. I was going to welcome him like a rockstar no matter how long he'd been out! I didn't tell him that though. We encouraged him along, prayed for his well-being and told him we'd support his decision whatever it was. It was hard. But you know, serving a mission is a humanitarian service first and foremost, it is voluntary. That he stayed out with no end to the lockdowns in sight is a credit to his desire to serve, and to his Mission President who told Joseph he needed him there.
So, let's keep going while I've got a minute.
Arianna, our Caboose, our Bee. She started out at BYU-I a year ago Sept 2019. With the pandemic, she came home in January for holidays, but when it was time to go back, the campus was basically closed to living there. Struggling with anxiety and depression even before the pandemic, we jumped at the opportunity to move her to a sunny place and a job. I've shared before her faith journey--it has been rocky. All we could do was love her endlessly and pray for her to feel Heavenly Father's love for her. She felt stagnant, is how I can best describe it. Well, things turned around three months ago: her sister had a dream about her. She was happy and smiling and wearing a yellow polka dotted dress and a black nametag on it. A black nametag is what missionaries wear on their clothes. She took her dream to Arianna and encouraged her to consider serving a mission, to pray about it because she was so happy in the dream. Now, our girl had never ever said she wanted to serve a mission. In fact, she'd said the exact opposite. A mission was not for her. No way, no how. But she felt something when her sister shared that dream...so much so, that she made an appointment right away with her Bishop and started her mission application. She'd wanted it to be a surprise for me, only to tell me once she got her call, but we had a bump in the road and she had to tell me. I was shocked. No idea at all. So grateful for answered prayers. She had to get her medical and dental visits done before she could submit the application--which takes alot of time during a pandemic! She just this week had her final meeting with the Bishop down in AZ and will have her final meeting with the Stake President down there on Sunday. I'm still amazed. She is giddy and nervous and happy with her decision.
And another miracle to share: Our Diana and her husband have been married six years. Due to infertility issues, they had little hope of creating a family. So resigned to this, Diana had applied to and been accepted to Parker University of Chiropractic College in Dallas, Texas to begin in January. She'd been taking her pre-req chemistry/physiology/anatomy classes to prepare. She figured that if she wasn't going to be a mother she would become a Chiropractor and have a lifelong career. In November, she called complaining about fatigue, food aversions, smells aversions and nausea. I said that she might be pregnant! She wasn't convinced, but after we hung up she took a few pg tests--each one reading Positive. After an appt with her GYN, it was confirmed that she is indeed pregnant and due June 2021!
Now I should share that I'd been praying for awhile that 2020 would be the Year of the Baby for our Nanadoos. She has a mother's heart and always has. When she called and told me the symptoms, I got on my knees and told Heavenly Father that this was her chance to be a mother, otherwise I knew she'd close that door to motherhood indefinitely to pursue a career. Wouldn't this be such a great time to send a baby, I wondered? When she called to tell us the news, she said, "I knew that you knew! You said 2020 was the Year of the Baby!"
So here we are, at the end of the year 2020. I have seen some miracles this year. It has been so devastating for so many, but my witness is that God is in control. That there is still much good to come to us and although this life is not all there is in the eternities, He is in the details of our lives. He hasn't left us to fend for ourselves--we have discovered how resilient and strong we are, and how much we can rely on each other too. This great "PAUSE" has blessed in ways we hardly comprehend. To quote President Russell M Nelson, there are better days ahead.