COVIDiaries-19: 2020 Highlight Reel

The year 2020 was when I started writing poems again. In November 2019, during the only two nights I have ever been without my kids, I went to a two-night writers’ retreat at the Shrine of St. Therese and met a group of women who helped me figure out what I wanted to say, and with whom I formed a writers’ group which is still going strong, meeting monthly.

My first poem since I became a mom ran in April. It’s about Imogen’s birth by emergency Caesarean, which was not what I had planned. The process of writing it showed me that I gained whatever power I’d presumed to have lost when the birth went another way by healing myself, my daughter beside me. After four years of trying to get the poem published, when I changed the title to include her, it was accepted immediately.

Also in April, my not-so-secret favorite month of the year, a poem of mine, “Christmas Girl,” about navigating toddlerdom, was published on bus #6660 in Juneau. I haven’t seen it, but it drove past me again today! Alaska Women Speak picked up two of my COVIDiaries-19 blog posts, and the piece I wrote about our retaining wall is meant to run in Ruminate yet this month. They even pay!

Aside from my artistic renaissance, 2020 has mostly been about improving the walls I have tried to keep my kids from climbing. Even now when I look at the picture of us holding the SOLD sign in February 2018, I can see so many things we’ve done: shored up and painted the deck, had the retaining wall and stairs replaced, updated both bathrooms, and replaced doors, just to name a few.

As far as work life is concerned, I’m going back January 11th for my second year in House Records at the Alaska State Legislature. I still can’t believe I had the perfect pandemic job, working from home for DW for five years, and lost it two months before the pandemic, at which point I got kind of a cool job… which then became remote. This year will start 75% remote as well.

So the biggest change yet for our family is coming as the kids are going to be out in the world, at their new preschool which emphasizes putting things away, TOGETHER, while Jacob and I toil away and he answers my myriad of computer-related questions. But that’s 2021: I’m getting ahead of myself; tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we still have to go shopping.

In 2020 I got to spend seven months as JUST a mom. The last two days culminated in making a cardboard rocket, which… looks like it was made by us. So far the kids have been to the swimming planet, the chocolate planet, the moon, and other places they can and can’t go. I hope they’ve got their wits about them and remember their manners. Fly off, little birdies.

See you all in 2021, here or, infinitely better, in person.

Jame

Off they go!

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