I uttered to myself in my mind, ‘This may be the last time anyone is writing in this notebook log,’ as I logged in the day’s activities at what would be the last day I worked at my retail job, back in March 2020. As I closed up the small shop for the day, I wrote the usual info and notes for the next day’s salesperson. And I wrote my thoughts with something like, ‘I am not sure when anyone will write in here next.’
I often think about that with an eerie feeling. At that time, my state declared an emergency on March 9th, and schools closed later in the month. In the days after, our state added new rules and restrictions to the year’s timeline. And I picture in my timeline that writing in the notebook was the beginning of the life-changing year for me.
Amid the sadness in those same few weeks, I had a happy event occur as well. My daughter had a baby girl, and I became a grandmother for the very first time. My granddaughter kept my joy throughout the entire past year! From weeks of FaceTiming to first meeting her months after her birth, I now look forward to celebrating her one-year birthday coming up soon! She and I (me with a mask on) first met from a distance. A couple of weeks after, I got to hold her. I often look at pictures my daughter took of me with the baby in my arms, and I smile. What was my granddaughter thinking?! Her curious expression with a tiny smile seemed to say, ‘I’m trying to figure out who you are. A familiar voice, oh yeah, I think on that phone Mom and Dad hold up. I remember now! Gee, you are real. There is life other than Mom and Dad and those people in the hospital!’
I’ve documented it all for her to read when she is older. From updates on the pandemic timeline to family first meeting her, and next week, I’ll have her birthday celebration journalized as well!
Along with the solemn memory of the last note I wrote at my retail job, I’m grateful for the beautiful memory of meeting my adorable, healthy granddaughter in 2020. We could not visit the hospital, but our family was thankful that everyone remained healthy.
Of course, with a newborn, everyone is careful, even without a pandemic. Hand washing and having clean clothes on are what you’d do around an infant, just not quite as extreme as washing off boxes before bringing any gift or item into my daughter’s house, which the baby wouldn’t touch anyway. But we have been extra careful right along :)
Now, I wonder what she thinks of us when we go for a walk with her in her carriage. I, Mom, and Dad have masks on when we are outside. She stares at me at times. I picture her thinking, ‘Hmm, she wears when we walk as Mom and Dad do. Hers has flowers on it. Hmm’, and she takes it all in with wonder as well.
I must say that one year ago, I didn’t think we’d still be wearing our masks, but I do realize that they (along with hand-washing, sanitizing, and distancing) also help with not catching other illnesses, like colds and flu. It might be something I keep on wearing after the pandemic, too, at least during flu season and in stores or where there are a lot of people gathered. But the intense cleaning of groceries when we thought we had to not even touch a bag of bread without cleaning it was probably one thing we all don’t miss. I do clean off groceries somewhat, but nothing like I did a year ago. It might seem small compared to all the heartbreak of loss and the suffering and strain the pandemic has brought our way, but it’s good that the grocery cleaning isn’t as necessary as we first thought.
I recall this past year, and I’m grateful for my grandchild’s birth and hope my journalizing for her helps her see how her arrival in the world brings tons of joy to our family during such a difficult time. Though I no longer write in my retail log, I instead write in my granddaughter’s journal along with mine and hope for better days ahead for us all. As I search for an appointment for my vaccine (my group just opened up), I wish everyone the best with theirs, and I hope 2021 continues to move forward in a happy, healthy, and safe direction!