This has been a very strange year, as I’m sure we can all agree, and of course our regular celebrations, whatever that used to look like for you and yours, are definitely different this year. As a mother especially, I’m finding myself looking to friends, the internet, and family members for ideas on how to keep the norm for my children the best I possibly can while still maintaining our safe six bubble and not undoing months of caution and preparedness. Being chronically ill, it’s especially important the people in my bubble are careful while they are conducting their regular lives outside of my home, as most of them do still work, shop, and have various appointments and errands to accomplish.
As a mother
Our family has always gone above and beyond with birthdays, from a Disney vacation to Florida, to sleepovers, handmade cakes, and large friendly gatherings, we always do birthdays big. This year, however, things have looked a LOT different. My youngest daughter Hanna, turned 8 this spring, and while she had been looking forward to a party with all her best friends, it ended up being a party with her grandparents, her uncle, and her mom and dad. That being said she definitely didn’t seem to miss what could have been, we did video calls with her cousins, I had made a galaxy cake and decorated the whole upstairs of the house.
After the summer was over, my oldest daughter Mia turned 11. She wanted a spooky party. She had a few requested items like a subscription to a treat box from Tokyo, and LED lights for her room. I of course did my research and found her the exact lights that are so popular on TikTok and she was BLOWN away. Once again it was just family members and her uncle and mom and dad, but this time, her best friend came by and from a distance traded off a present for a goody bag, an air hug, and some smiles. I was even able to surprise her with merchandise from her favourite YouTuber and a handmade beetle juice cake.
As a wife, mother, and friend
Within my bubble, I am lucky enough to get to include one of my best friends, her husband, and their soon to be baby! This year for Halloween, her husband wanted to be a part of the celebrations, carve pumpkins with my girls, party with us, and enjoy some normalcy in this weird time. It was absolutely wonderful. I made my kids Halloween costumes, as I do every year, and we had 7 pumpkins to carve! Instead of the usual trick or treating, I created some games, bought a small novelty claw machine, and costumes were mandatory. I didn’t even hear my girls mention trick or treating once the whole night. Karaoke with the in-laws, picking out prizes and of course, lots of candy.
At the end of the day
I think it’s most important for us to remember that most often our expectations of how something “should” be ruins our enjoyment of what it is. 2020 has been quite a good example of that. That being said, be gentle with yourselves, especially during the upcoming holiday season. It’s not going to look like it has most years past and that is okay. Disappointment, loneliness, depression, and frustration will come and go during this new normal. We are all experiencing it and we all need to take it one day, one holiday, one breath at a time. Reach out this holiday season with cards, video calls, texts, and pictures. Take time to reflect on what you are missing about how things used to be, and find creative ways to compromise. Take time for self care; it’s easy to get caught up in making sure everyone else is okay during tough times, so don’t let yourselves get overwhelmed.