You never realize just how quiet winter is until the birds start chirping and squawking on the first days of spring. Recently, I had a similar experience when I smelled a familiar aroma floating over the fence in my neighborhood. Someone was boiling crawfish! That unmistakable scent and the sound of the propane burner drove home how much we’ve missed this past year. We’ve reached the one-year mark of the pandemic. One year of dodging a virus. A year of “what ifs” and “whens” and “how is this possible?” I still can’t believe we’ve lived through this, but even more shocking is the thought of the people who didn’t.
As much as I tried to make it a “normal” year for the boys, I look back now and realize I was setting the bar too high. We couldn’t have a normal year because it simply wasn’t a normal year. Little glimpses of pre-pandemic life are proving that point. Smelling crawfish on the wind, making real summer camp plans, thinking about a family get together for Easter. No matter how much I tried to be normal, these things were simply just missing last year. I don’t think I even realized it because of the stress and anxiety of the moment and because I was trying so hard to “be normal.”
Looking back through a year’s worth of photos tells the story. Most of our adventures took place within the same four walls or within our backyard. The traditional group photos from a family party or the selfies from a road trip aren’t there. But what is there is our little family trying to carry on despite adversities. Even during such a challenging time, we found joy when we could. We watched marble run championships on ESPN when major sports shut down. We hid Easter eggs for two instead of hundreds for an array of cousins. Little Bud dressed in costumes to ride his bike, and PMan completed comic templates with his own creative tales. It wasn’t normal, but it was something.
We have all climbed our mountains this year. Unfortunately, we can’t get the time or our loved ones back. It’s hard to say we’ll simply move on and everything will be ok. It will take time to process and mourn for those whom we lost and for the experiences that we missed. For now, it’s just nice to smell crawfish and feel the world spring to life again.