Its hard to remember the optimism with which we greeted 2021. Sure, Trumpian insanity was yet to peak, but the vaccine was here, people were getting it, and it really looked like we were about to turn the corner on this whole Covid-19 thing. The close of 2021, and the shadow of Delta and Omicron, proved that the glass wasn’t as close to half full as we hoped, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad year. For awhile there, things almost felt… normal.
Spring and summer saw us cautiously stretching our legs beyond the confines of quarantine, and evidenced the inexorable impact of adolescence on our teenagers — with all the tumult and change that comes with it.
You can call them the “blunder years” if you’d like, but they’ve handled it well so far. Pushing themselves to try new things, and showing leadership in their peer group. Abi signed up for lacrosse this year; they all talked me into (temporarily) fostering a dog; and both Ben and Abi were among the first kids in our area to get their vaccine shots — a choice we left entirely up to them. Eli wasn’t left out either, hitting double digits, and qualifying for her shots later in the year.
As summer called, and case counts plummeted, we enjoyed the return to some of our normal patterns. We welcomed our first visitor since the pandemic hit, had a blast at Family Camp, and made the challenging-but-worthwhile trip across the border, which allowed us multiple wonderful reunions. Ben hit another milestone, this time in his spiritual growth, as he obeyed Jesus into the waters of baptism.
Our very “scenic route” trip home allowed us even more visits and experiences as we trecked across the eastern seaboard of Canada and the US, before returning home to face some challenges. Nicole and I learned how to remove and hang a door. Abi started her multi-year experience with orthodontic work. And Ben worked his first job — manning a booth at a video game conference (not a bad way to start his professional life!)
Still the impact of 2020 created more constraint than we would have liked, so in 2021 we made it a point to fulfill some delayed promises, and the older two each got a special adventure — albeit somewhat late. Things were still fairly normal as fall hit, and we got to enjoy some of the beauty around home, but once again, the colder weather brought rising cases and new restrictions. It seems like something of a miracle that we managed to make it home for Christmas again this year.
Just look at how much the kids have grown in the past 12 months. Physically, its quite obvious in our teenagers (Ben’s voice dropped an octave!) but we’re most proud of who all of them are becoming. Their temperaments are obviously unique (and sometimes get on each other’s nerves!) but most of the time, they genuinely try to put others first, embrace the world and all its challenges with courage and a sense of adventure, and have weathered the pandemic like troopers — accepting limitations when prudent, and enthusiastically saddling up for new experiences whenever we get the opportunity.
At this point, it would seem entirely pointless and foolish to try to predict how 2022 will go. But as much as we can, we hope to enjoy our kids’ energy and excitement to explore new things and new places. We are so grateful to God for giving us each of them, and for blessing us with another year of adventures with them. I’ll let Eli close this year, by telling you about one of hers…