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2020 in Five Photos

Small brown and white puppy on chair in domestic interior
Two boys and dog dwarfed by large architectural feature
Blue butterfly behind hand
Two boys at table in a restaurant
Two boys in green checkered costumes

My sons and I went to IHOP in January 2020 to celebrate my birthday.

Pre-pandemic, IHOP was one of our favorite spots to go for celebrations. I look back on this photo often, and think about how much fun we had, and how none of us had any idea that only two short months later, the boys would attend their final day of regular schooling and we would all face such upheaval. April rolls around and we are trying to find new and fun ways to enjoy our newfound togetherness, thus, pajamas-all-day becomes a new way of celebrating not having to go to school. Sometimes the boys would even want to run around in their Pokemon Halloween costumes from the previous year...and I could not refuse them whatever small joys were to be found as they struggled to adjust to virtual schooling and missing their friends.

It is June and I have done what I have never done before; I got the boys their very first puppy, a gorgeous and playful Jack Russel we name Lokita, Loki for short. The boys are growing restless and miss their friends, and I am terrified of catching maybe a dog will cheer us up. I could fill albums with the amount of pictures I have taken of the dog and the boys with the dog. I take so many pictures! She gets bigger every day! There are so many pictures of the boys holding the puppy, playing with her, and then those that I have sneaked in their bedroom to take at night as they sleep, pictures of the boys cuddled up asleep with their first puppy. Loki becomes one of the brightest points of 2020 for our whole household.

It is August, and Lucian will be thirteen in November, and the teenager in him is beginning to show. We go to parks and socially distance ourselves in nature. We go roller-skating and rollerblading in the school parking lot down the road, as it is empty anyway. We take the dog on walks while we play Pokemon Go. All of this while I carefully maintain at least six feet between us and other people. It is winter and the weather combines with the peaking pandemic to give me a slight case of cabin fever. I am constantly grateful that we live in a time where we have access to so much technology. Yes, it comes with its own set of problems and complications, but my children and I can attend our classes virtually, maintaining some academic growth and socialization that would not have been possible only a few decades ago. When I am stir-crazy for summer and butterflies, I conjure a virtual butterfly up, right in my living room, with the help of the wizard known as "Google." Thank goodness that in some ways, magic still exists.