Much to my surprise in what has seemed like the longest year of my life, I am struck by how quick 2020 has gone, especially when my daughter’s first birthday approaches and I have yet to complete an embroidering project I started two summers ago. As Chanukah approaches, I find myself mildly shocked that I have yet to finish the menorah pattern. However, every time I thread the needle, the baby tries to grab the hoop or my son demands a snack or the dog steals a sock, and on and on it goes. I’d estimate I’m 37% finished with this craft project and like so many of my other knitting and embroidery aspirations they quickly get dismissed in favor of other household requirements: laundry, Legos, lunch – essentially the life with littles.
I had imagined that perhaps in this year stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic I’d have more time to stitch, knit, or read, but no matter the lockdowns, the social distancing, or the change from pre-virus life, there is still running a brewery, running a household, and running after children.
My son is surprised that it’s not yet finished and hopes I’ll enter into warp speed with the needle and thread. But then he quickly changes his mind about letting mama work with the hoop and – oops – was that a glass of milk dumped on the floor? My husband jokes that I could stay up late to try and finish. When I remind him that we haven’t slept through the night in a year, the smirk quickly drops from his face. Maybe another year it will be done and we can place it with the rest of our Chanukah decorations. At least I didn’t have to make our menorah or else we’d be in real trouble.
When I reflect on this past year, it’s this tension between the suspension of normalcy and the forward motion of life, kids growing out of clothes, temper tantrums and teething tears, relatives having non-COVID related medical problems, unexpected deaths, and many joyful births. Learning to live with this push-pull throughout the pandemic has been quite a challenge. Wearing a mask is the easy part. That’s tangible and obvious. It’s the delicate and sometimes precarious balance of knowing how to feel or react to such change, to such loss all the while finding the breath to celebrate first birthdays (hosted on Zoom thank you very much), first wobbly steps, and those spare 93 seconds when I can fish out my needle, and pass the blue thread through the fabric, slowly making the outline of the festival of lights appear.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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