It’s an absolutely gorgeous day, sitting in the 72 degree sunshine listening to Duran Duran while my Mom gets her second dose of the vaccine.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my last “normal” day – the girls went to school, I spent the morning in the office, then had lunch with friends on a similarly warm and sunny day. It was Friday the 13th, and we thought COVID must be this thing that caused drastic intestinal issues because that seemed like the only logical reason people would be buying crazy amounts of toilet paper. The prospect of being home for a couple of weeks seemed nice, and yet there was an undertone of apprehension. More than anything I guess I felt Michael Scott-ish: I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.

A whole year of quarantine…

What a terrible time for USPS to not be at the top of its game. We needed mail and packages, not just for meds and necessities but for breaking up the monotony of our days.

Sometimes I was so excited to get an Amazon box that I ripped it open without scissors or a knife. This almost always resulted in a giant and deep cardboard papercut, and after a whole year I still have not yet learned to control myself.

All things related to food are different than a year ago. Grocery shopping online became a pain in the rear and a giant blessing. Worst. UIs. Ever. It’s great to not risk getting COVID just because we’d like cheese and Raisinets, but the likelihood of getting all of what you want into an online cart in less than an hour and without having to start over is almost zero – and suddenly my swear jar has the potential to make more than my 401K. It’s no surprise that DoorDash revenue increased 267 percent in the last 12 months.

Masks seem like they might be here to stay and they aren’t all bad. They delay recognition of, if not entirely hide, our runny noses. They hide the WTH facial expressions we’re not always good at keeping under control. And they keep our faces warm in winter.

I used to always complain my office was cold. But now that I work from home I still think my office is cold. While there’s a possibility the issue is decreased circulation due to aging, I am leaning toward two broken thermostats. I also used to complain about having to wait the 1.5 minutes it took for the office Keurig to heat water and produce a cup of contentment – but that 1.5 minutes is even longer now that no one is standing around with me questioning my hair color and shoe choices.

I have had so much more time this year to read and watch. I had forgotten how much I like documentaries in particular. In terms of fluff, I will watch half of one episode of a show (Cobra Kai), or every single episode without sleeping until I have consumed the whole series (You and Virgin River). There is no middle of the road.

I also had time to just live with my girls. To pay attention because we weren’t rushing in the mornings or evenings. I love love love to listen to my daughters sing in the shower. We have laughed at and shared thousands of TikToks and youtube videos. I’ve seen every guinea pig photo on Instagram. I’ve listened to and read the lyrics of the songs on Ella’s worship playlist in Apple Music, and I found so many things that really moved me.

I know lots of moms miss the baby phases but I am enjoying talking to and meeting the kids with whom they choose to be friends, answering the questions they ask and that they don’t think to ask about history and current events, and seeing what interests them when someone doesn’t place in front of them what to read or watch or give attention to.

We’ve taken a ridiculous number of pictures this year. I regularly pick up a device and find that the girls have filled it with silly-faced photos.

We’ve also taken a stupid number of selfies, which is fine for kids and teens but such a strange thing for adult people to spend time on. Additionally I am apparently terrible at it because I don’t use filters, don’t want to take 30 and try to figure out which one is best, don’t use an artificial lighting device, and don’t remember to think about the fact that you’ll be able to see my hand taking the picture in the reflection on my sunglasses. Selfies are too much work!

Of all the “finds” I’ve saved on my phone this year girl, read your bible might be my favorite. I don’t eat kale or lift weights, but this piece reminds me where my soul rests and how to get back to rest when my soul is worked up or weary.

This year has been so good and yet so hard, sometimes all on the same day. I’ve thought what is even happening right now over and over and over again. I’ve mulled over what we’re supposed to learn from all this and how to live more purposefully. Sometimes I thought I was killing it, and sometimes I thought I was failing at it. Some days I was happy with how I spent my time, and other days I wondered why I didn’t keep up with The Joneses and paint murals or translate an ancient text from Latin to English. Some days I thought I’d figured out my next step and maybe even my path and purpose, and other days I knew that what I’d thought the week before was all wrong.

Perhaps only one thing was true on both day one and on day 365 of this quarantine year. Again, in the words of Michael Scott: I understand nothing.

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