Southern Ontario was in provincial declared lockdown from 26 December through 19 February and do not get me started on all of those who did not understand the meaning of “lockdown”. Ridiculous. What lockdown meant for us? Not much in-person social interaction but we did manage to keep our days full. Due to circumstances, I find myself in Toronto which continued to be in lockdown through March 8.
At times it seems hopeless the idea of anticipating anything other than one day after the next. After this past year of dealing with the restrictions and complications of Covid-19, the monotony of it often feels endless. Ever the optimist, I choose to look forward to simple natural things, like sunrises and sunsets, and I’ll not let the bleak outlook for the next few months dampen my enjoyment of life. I am grateful for every moment I have breath in my body.
Winter 2020/21 brought with it the unfortunate diagnosis that Caden has cancer, non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He has named his tumour “Nelson” and he goes for his chemo treatment at Princess Margaret (one of the top cancer treatment centres in the world – we’re so fortunate) and manages all of his appointments (online and in-person) by himself. I continue in my role (perfected while raising kids and caring for Bill) as emotional support person, in addition to chief cook, laundress and chauffeur. Good thing that after a lifetime of practice, I am well qualified for all of those things!
Claire turned 25 in December and continues working at MedCan in Toronto. Recently she got a volunteer position in girls’ baseball this summer, the diamond is her happy place – they’re lucky to have her. Cole continues his post-graduate program in Content Strategy at Humber College. He turned 24 in January and has taken point on the renovations of the new house in Southampton. He recently secured employment with Bruce County. Chloé stayed in Edinburgh over the holidays and her boyfriend joined her for the 6-weeks she had no school. Her dissertation is due in a few weeks and she has become quite expert at “Desegregation in the American South, 1954-1992: The Role of the Supreme Court in the Rise and Fall of Desegregation” – what a mouthful! She has applied to a number of universities in Canada for graduate studies in Global Affairs with an eye toward law school and a career in diplomacy. It’ll be nice to have her on this side of the world for a while! Caden, well, he’s following doctor’s orders and is living with me and the dogs in a lovely condo in downtown Toronto where we view the world from the 42nd floor. His studies have been deferred and he keeps his life full with reading, talking to friends and playing on a computer he built.
My winter was, like most of ours, a mix of old- and new-normal activities. The highlight was the massive renovations in Southampton, filled with surprises, with materials being chosen and a plan being put together. I continued participating in my Mastermind group with Zoom calls every Wednesday and Sunday evenings. My health is a continuing priority with a meeting with the general surgeon about removing my gall bladder; an annual assessment at MedCan; a sleep study and yet another biopsy with the GYN. We’re watching plenty of sports; Superbowl, golf, hockey, tennis and basketball. Photos come up on my Facebook to remind me of life with Bill a short/long year ago when we were hosting events in Oakville and taking in events in Brockville, Carleton Place, Las Vegas and a drive to the Maritimes – it made me happy and sad at the same time. I hit the 100-day sober mark in February and had a glass of wine on day 110; I had no trouble stopping and lost zero weight. I managed to binge-watch: Yellowstone, Virgin River, A Discovery of Witches, Sweet Magnolias, Fate: The Winx Saga; The Lost Husband, and The Dig. I read a few books, of note was a re-read of The Four Agreements. I had a “coaching” session about writing with a friend and it kick-started my desire to write again.
On top of the challenges brought along with the pandemic, I’m entering a strange time in my life. I’m caught sometime between here and there. I don’t know how long I’ll be in Toronto. The house in Oakville is sold. The house in Southampton is not completely renovated. As a natural list-maker and calendar queen, this is a weird situation in a strange time. No plans can be made. What am I going to do? Roll with it.
Armed with my lists and calendar, I’ll create a little order and opportunity for creativity:
- WRITE. Map out and finish the first draft of the novel. Then edit. Then let someone read it. Then edit. And edit some more. Then, maybe, in between edits, I’d like to transcribe some of Bill’s writing. And the submission to Modern Love at the NYT that I promised him I’d write. There is also a screenwriting course I’d like to tackle.
- RENOVATE. Phase 1 of the renovation of the big yellow house should be completed by the May long weekend. Then it’ll be time to bring the furniture up from storage, move in and unpack the oodles of boxes. And then, the projects I’ve been thinking of as not a priority, will be designed and planned for the next opening my contractor and design team have available in their schedule! And then there’s the backyard. It’s likely too late to book landscaping for this year, but I have ideas for next summer. PEONIES! I left the 20+ plants in Oakville.
- MOVE MORE. The key to flexibility and strength is movement. I have to learn to enjoy walking the dogs, skipping rope on the trampoline and using the reformer Pilates machine (once I get to Southampton) – consistently.
- MAKE MORE. I will record this time between here and there with an updated Me: A to Z album. I’d like to create albums based on the blog post series I’ve written over the years, especially the 52 Lists and Hello Monday posts. Maybe I’ll manage to put together recipe books of all the favourites my kids enjoyed through the years.
- CONNECT. While I continue to live in Toronto until Caden has completed his treatment, I hope he and I will spend some time in Southampton. Cole lives there and I expect Chloé will live there depending upon her summer plans – she may stay with Claire in Toronto. I do hope when provincial regulations permit, we can be joined by family and friends. I am looking forward to connecting with my new community
My life is full every day. I’ll continue to embrace my One Little Word for 2021: BRAVE. I need a dose of it every day.