In the trying year that 2020 was, two good memories stand out:
(1) The combined birthday and book launch party that my wife threw for me in January was so meaningful to me, because Natalie put such care into it, with purple table cloths and thoughtful activities for the guests. It made me feel really special, since I never had birthday parties as a kid. Plus, the book came out and seeing it on the shelves at the bookstore was thrilling and terrifying---I had put so much emotional energy the two years before that into trying to get the message right, and now I was opening myself up to critics and scorn. But I also had the potential to change the way people thought of themselves and each other through the book, and that felt gratifying. I read a few excerpts from the book at the party and I couldn't keep myself from crying. Little did we know that would be the last time we saw most everyone in 2020.
(2) Seeing N being born in July was scary and amazing. He had such a big head that he face was bruised from passing through the birth canal. Having a baby during the pandemic made everything about the experience harder and more stressful. Wish I could tell you stories. But N is healthy, and big in every way (95+ percentile by weight and height), which means that even at 6 months, his old parents find it hard to lift him. He has a killer smile and he melts our hearts, which means we will cuddle and hold him even if it means our backs give out. Being present at home to watch him cross various milestones was a silver lining of the pandemic.
Almost everything else about 2020 has been challenging. Here hoping 2021 is better. May we all be kind to ourselves and one another in the new year.