Just a few days ago while walking back from tobogganing, I noticed a small snowman in the middle of nowhere, which reminded me of this story.
Years ago, I worked on contract for a company where I met a special person. She retired within the year I met her and I will always remember this story she shared with the team.
One day, she and her husband went out for a hike by the water. During their hike, her husband noticed some peculiar objects on the ground and he asked her to walk back to the car, while he explored a little longer. After about 30 minutes, he had discovered the body of a Durham teacher that had been reported missing a few weeks before. She told us that her husband was a retired police investigator with a gift of noticing things and her message in her story for us was ‘to notice’.
This year, I’ve noticed:
- xenophobia towards the Chinese/Asian race including my family;
- inequity and inequality of our system towards seniors and the underprivileged;
- ignorance and injustices towards Black and Indigenous people;
- division of world powers, the rising of China and falling of the DSA (Divided States of America);
- essential workers put their lives on the line to keep the privileged safe;
- torn homes and families due to the loss of a business, job, loved one;
- dependence on online apps for education, entertainment, work and buying;
- desperation of trying to keep activities and relationships alive despite pubic health guidelines;
- increased mental health in trying to cope with this change
But this year, I’ve also noticed:
- individual white, puffy clouds floating in the sky (like in this picture) after the first lock down;
- the power of pedestrian journalism and social media’s influence on people’s choices and behaviors;
- messages of injustice and inaction be heard and increased acceptance than I can remember before;
- resilience of Educators, parents and children adapting to new teaching and learning;
- the desire to keep our local small businesses alive;
- a white Christmas which has been missed for years;
- I am privileged among many managing in this difficult time and for that I am grateful.
This unwanted pandemic has truly exposed the good, the bad and the ugly of mankind. It has impacted each of us all in our own unique ways. I hope this message ‘to notice’ finds you…that you will notice the people right in front of you and all around you, and do the good.
Earlier this year, outside of the everyday rush of life, Paul and I tried High Tea, did a staycation downtown, Toronto with the kids and used up our WestJet credit to Miami, Florida before it expired in June. We also enjoyed the warm salt water pool and magic show at Casino Rama, thanks to our good friend.
Since the pandemic, Paul and I have been working from home. It was difficult at first with everyone being at home, testing our patience and relationships and being paranoid during quarantine after our trip, about any of us having Covid19 which thankfully was not the case.
I began cooking more meals but discovered Instacart and Goodfood which has been a game-changer in balancing work and home life. I do miss eating in a restaurant but cherish our family dinners together now that Jaclyn does not have dance.
Feeling cooped up at times, we’ve tried to keep things laid back with hiking, some biking, walks at conservation parks, brief gatherings with our inner circle whenever it was safe. We were also able to do the Hornblower Niagara Cruise for the first time.
Paul and I also learned how to manage investments effectively, thanks dad.
Paul rediscovered his love for golf again and bought a driving mat for the basement. Between his long hours of work (still in IT Risk), we can hear him drive foam balls into the basement wall. He played tennis and golf, each once and lost the souls of his shoes both times! He needs to invest in new shoes but gave us a good laugh.
Sheila discovered she doesn’t love conducting virtual panel interviews as part of work due to Zoom fatigue but loves wearing sweatpants every day and not having to rush or drive into work. Jaclyn helped her organize the garage to create a space for DIY projects and a safe outdoor gathering space. Sheila enjoyed picking up curbside finds to build simple DIY projects and refinish furniture. She failed at baking bread so she continues to bake and eat cakes and cookies.
Jaclyn turned 16yrs old the day the pandemic was announced. Her sweet 16 celebrations continue to be on hold. Dance competitions were cancelled in the Spring and virtual or in studio small classes have resumed, following public health protocols. She returned to in-person school (quadmester format) but glad she has been able to see AT LEAST one friend during the week outdoors. Other than sleeping in until the mid afternoon from watching Netflix, Disney+, Tiktoks, art projects or painting her nails; she managed to organize her bedroom, bullet journal, colour half her hair blue, and help the family with home work. She finally got her braces off this year and has taken a liking to playing mahjong like her po po.
Aaron was fortunate to have celebrated his 9th birthday before the pandemic and began grade 4 with our favorite teacher. The pandemic has been good to him as he no longer has swimming classes or Chinese School. He enjoys the virtual life with extended time playing The Battle Cats and Mindcraft on his iPad and talking to his friends on Messenger Kids. He continues piano lessons online and draws A LOT of things he likes. He is still fond of his pillows and too small pajamas.
May you and your family be at, peace, filled with hope, love and kindness. Happy 2021 ~ Sheila