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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Don’t give up hope for 2021

By Stacy Turner

When my youngest sister was getting ready to turn 9 or 10 and set about planning her birthday party, she decided on a pool party.  Since we had an above-ground pool in the backyard, this wasn’t a huge ask.  The problem was, her birthday arrives in January, a time when backyard pool parties in northeast Ohio are a little tricky to plan.  But she had a simple solution -- she moved her birthday to July, which she explained, was a far better month to have it.

Although our parents asked repeatedly if she really meant it, explaining that she wouldn’t receive presents, a cake, or any of the usual birthday trappings on the day formerly known as her birthday, she stuck to her guns.  They thought she might regret it, but she knew what she was doing.  It was as if once she made up her mind, her birthday actually WAS in July, and she was happy to wait for the sunshine, blue skies, and beach towels that came with her special summer day. 

It didn’t matter to her how cold and grey it got, or how much snow and ice came that year, because she had a super fun pool party to look forward to.  She knew a winter storm couldn’t cancel her party, and that her new swimsuit would look much cuter than a big fat winter coat, snow pants, hat and gloves.  She was all in for fun in the sun, and was more than happy to wait for the right timing.  Once she made her decision, she waited for six long months without a fuss or complaint -- even when our other sister celebrated her ‘real’ birthday on the day they both shared, receiving gifts, cake, and a solo day of celebration.  She waited, content that on a warm, sunny day in July, she’d have an awesome summer celebration that would be worth the wait. 

I remembered that birthday as I sent her card this year, knowing I wouldn’t see her and get to celebrate for a little while longer.  I remember the determined little girl who decided it was better to wait patiently for the day she knew was coming than to settle for the less-than-ideal right now.  As it turned out, good things do come to those who wait, at least in my sister’s case that year.  And I think it’s applicable to this year, too.  As 2021 began, we got past the novelty of it not being 2020 anymore, only to realize that it’s still kind of the same.  These challenging days mean we may need to recalibrate our thinking in order to maintain hope and hold on to our optimism. 

It’s true that it may take time before many of us can see all the loved ones we’ve been missing; until we can finally do all the things we’ve missed doing, too.  But hold on to hope, because the day is coming in the not-so-distant future when we’ll be able to see people up close and in person, go to concerts and movies, and hang out together like we used to. 

We’ll eventually get there, back to get-togethers and celebrations.  And who knows, maybe my sister and I will get the chance to spend a warm, sunny day by a pool somewhere sipping umbrella drinks to celebrate her birthday like we did all those years ago.  A girl can hope.

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