A year ago I was beginning preparations for the annual Wolfe family Christmas Eve, a tradition that Spence and I started years ago. For my grandkids, it’s the only Christmas Eve they’ve known. With the house decorated, delicious food, surrounded by family, laughter and gifts galore in front of a roaring fire, the tradition continued even after we lost Spence. This year the house is decorated but the Christmas Eve festivities had to be cancelled due to Covid.

So you might be asking, isn’t this post titled gratitude?

In a year fraught with crisis, chaos and isolation for long periods of time I make a point of reminding myself that I’m okay when staggering numbers of people are not.

I’ve lost no one to Covid.

I have my health, a warm home and no worries about where my next meal is coming from.

Tipper and Biscotti, (my cats) are my roommates. They entertain me, snuggle endlessly and don’t seem to mind that I talk to them…a lot. I may be the only human in my home but I’m never alone.

I’m grateful that I moved Mom to my home for six weeks when the Covid crisis was in the first surge. She loves my cooking. We played games and had non-stop quality time together while remaining safe. I introduced her to the Gilmore Girls – a favorite of mine that I’d recommended countless times. She was hooked and it seemed fitting to share a show featuring a mother and daughter with my own mom.

Home delivery of groceries is something I hadn’t imagined I would ever do but that changed in March of 2020. It was a godsend during those early months.

I’m grateful for my garden. It got me out of the house and into fresh air and sunshine creating beauty that surrounded me all summer.

Puzzles, countless puzzles kept me entertained for hours while shifting my focus away from the worries of the outside world.

I’m grateful for knowing myself enough to take breaks from the news. While I want to be informed, watching the news felt like being bludgeoned for most of 2020. Sometimes a girl needs a break.

Music and books have always been things I love. They became an essential and integral part of coping during long stretches of alone time.

Streaming took on new meaning in 2020. I’ve discovered fascinating documentaries and series that captivated me. I’ve watched critically acclaimed movies that I’d always intended to watch.

After postponing a road trip to my beloved Wears Valley in May, I was able to go in September. Having traveled here many times, I sought out activities that avoided crowds and would be safe, which brought me to the Great Smoky Mountains Art community. I took classes in pottery, glass blowing, fused glass and painting with alcohol ink. It was transformational and something I might not have done if not for Covid. From the number of blog posts, it’s clear to see that painting is now a hobby/passion/obsession of mine for which I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for the scientists who worked tirelessly to find vaccines that will eventually eradicate Covid.

I’m grateful for the return of hope I feel for our country as we approach inauguration of qualified, compassionate leadership in January 2021.

Thank you to my followers, you have my gratitude as well. I wish you a Merry Christmas, good health and a Happy New Year. Be safe.

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