"No Child Left Inside" · Accessibility · Adaptive Adventure · Adaptive Parenting (an adventure itself) · Family life · Growing Up New Hampshire

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation: “All Through the Village, Happy New Year!”

Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on December 30, 2020# Lifestyle

As December sprints to the finish line and 2021 lies ahead, we hope to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. Many people have written a variation on the theme of needing 2020 to end as quickly as possible, but, as history teaches us time and again, we have little control over what the larger world throws at us. What we can manage is our reaction to setbacks and challenges. So, my New Year’s wish for families across the world is to hold onto the Pandemic Pause dearly, pray for ample vaccines, and give strength to our communities as we wait patiently and safely for herd immunity.

The last few mornings have given rise to the most beautiful pink skies as we leave for school each day. But no matter how hard I try to capture the moment with my cell phone, the photo just never amounts to even a fraction of the clarity ahead. I often ask one of my children to try to find the sun hitting the mountains long before touching the ground here in our little hollow. That is kind of how 2021 feels to me in terms of Covid. We are so close to the sunshine hitting our faces again we can even see it, just up ahead on the tips of our mountain tops. Soon the warmth will spread down into the valleys, and we will hug our people wholeheartedly.

Photos are a moment’s glimpse into the past, and, as the 2020 holiday cards fill our mailbox, I’m reminded by time’s passage– so quickly for some, especially those of us with growing children or busy careers and– then again– so slowly for those who are older, or lonely, or living separately from loved ones. I know it’s been really hard on our parents, and I cannot wait for them to be free again to visit friends, eat inside restaurants, take trips and visit their other adult children and grandchildren more easily. This hail Mary vaccine might just be the best miracle of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years’, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day– all rolled into two doses for every human on the planet.

For our family, I’m fairly certain this could be the last year of full magic for Santa Claus and elves on shelves– definitely the last for the tooth fairy– even if jolly old St. Nick lasts a bit longer. And I can’t tell if it’s because of the pandemic or just who our children are as humans that they need to be truly festive every day of December. My husband Geoff loves everything about Christmas, but especially the trees– the bigger, the better. When he was a little boy, he used to crouch beneath the tree every night before bed. Even now, on Christmas Eve, if he wheels away for a few minutes, he can often be found gazing upwards at his parents’ beautiful tree where we spend the holiday. Our children are turning 11 and 10 in the coming months, and they share our balanced concern and optimism for health in 2021.

So, find that sunrise on hilltops near you, or maybe that’s too early for your lifestyle. Find a sunset on a big mountain or a calm lake, frozen and snow-covered or warm and wavy; it makes no difference. Find a little part of nature that brings you peace, say a prayer or make a wish or even a promise that 2021 will be better because of the way you react or respond to life’s challenges and conflicts that remain, even after Covid is kicked to the curb. Geoff and I remain so very indebted to the family and friends who support us in this life together and 2020 was no different in that regard– even as the pandemic threatened to swallow communities whole. We worked hard; we played hard; we loved and visited outside and laughed on Zoom calls and Facetime as often as necessary. We know it has not been an easy journey through 2020, but 2021 is just on the horizon, tipping those mountains up ahead, getting ready to warm our souls for the moments we may share together again. Happy New Year from our home to yours.

PS. Thank you to the Reeve Foundation for supporting families like ours so we can share our stories with others. After writing for several years now, I was finally able to “meet” some of my fellow Reeve bloggers over a Zoom holiday blogger coffee hour last week. Talk about energizing! Just when I didn’t think I could handle another responsibility, making time to connect with others in a casual forum gave me more energy than I could have imagined during a super busy and hectic, and often stressful time of year. Thank you to Rita Gentles and Julia Leonard for making that possible.

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