Even in a pandemic there are so many things I’m grateful for this year.
1. “Quartanteam”: My quarantine team consists of my husband, our two kids, our wonder dog, Franklin the golden retriever, and our neighbors across the street with similar-aged kids. After going pandemic life alone as a family of four with a dog for six weeks we combined with our neighbors. It has saved our sanity. The kids have friends to play with when they are tired of their siblings, I have workout buddy, my husband has a pandemic project buddy. We can unload our kids on each for a few hours at a time and get a much-needed parental break. At my son’s wellness visit this summer I told the pediatrician we had joined another family and she responded; “I wish more families will do this.” My quaranteam ranks as my number one thing I’m thankful for this year.
2. In-person School: My husband and I listed out all the things we value most and in-person schooled ranked top of the list. After going remote in the spring with our young children’s education we realized we could not sustain our careers and our children’s education through another academic year remote. We wanted our kids to have teachers that could provide them attention that two working parents could not. Finding an in-person school has been the biggest win for our family and we’ve let the teachers and school know how thankful many times. Academically my kids are excelling, our entire family’s stress level has decreased from a 9 to 1, and our kids are getting social interactions they desperately needed. It feels like we’ve been able to take a little bit of the burden of the pandemic off our children. Every day my husband and I talk about how grateful we are that I came across a Facebook ad for a discount at a new school opening in our neighborhood, Midtown Montessori Academy at Sloan’s Lake.
3. Workouts: I love my neighborhood gym, Alchemy365. For my entire life I’ve used working out to deal with stress and stay healthy. The gym is my happy place. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy runs, hikes and all the other outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. However, the gym in my community. For almost my entire professional career I have hit the gym at lunch, it’s my routine. When gyms closed at the start of the pandemic, I’d log on to do at home workouts, but I quickly lost motivation working out in my backyard solo. I’m so thankful to my gym for what it’s done for my mental health, immune health and muscles. Thank you Alchemy365 for whipping my butt back into shape after 6 weeks of “house arrest.”
4. Espresso maker: I’m grateful for our espresso machine. Who doesn’t love caffeine in the morning? My husband would make me a honey cinnamon almond milk latte in my, “You’re my favorite teacher” mug a mentee gave me a couple years ago. It was an inside joke between me and my husband since remote learning my Kindergartener was going so poorly. It would make me smile each morning. When we are low on coffee beans I walk down to Allegro and buy fours bags of coffee and say hi to my local baristas.
There are many things I miss about pre-pandemic life. As an extrovert making my circle smaller hasn’t been easy. However, this neighborhood has given me many things to be grateful for as you see in my shout outs above to people and places. A few more local businesses I’d like to highlight included: Strut — Elyse will deliver to your front door, BookBar– when my son needed the next Harry Potter book or Bob books when he became excited reading this year, Hops N’ Pie for that night you don’t know what to make for dinner, Berkeley Running Company because you put too many miles on your running shoes, Mouthfuls and Simpawtico because that adorable new puppy needs to eat. Please consider showing our local stores some gratitude this holiday season by shopping local so they are still around when this pandemic is no more.