I've had a lot of time to think over the last twelve months, to reassess the things I took for granted, the people I assumed would be there no matter what, the convenience of having grandparents to step in and help with the kids, the friends who would pop by and put the world to rights over a brew and a Custard Cream, the children's teachers who showed the patience of saints when I, quite clearly, did not. And as much as we are all wishing for better times ahead, to rediscover our freedom and our carefree attitude to life, I am so grateful for the last year and the huge reminder to really appreciate those around me.
And I don't just mean the obvious people in your life such as your parents or your best friends, that goes without saying. This year has showed me that it's not just about those who have been there for you your whole life but those who stepped in when things got tough and reminded you of how strong you can be, how capable you are, how through the darkest of days they are right there holding your hand, albeit at a distance.
It's the school mums in the WhatsApp group, allowing you to vent over fronted adverbials and the fact your child just can't keep still for more than two seconds. It's an old friend on the other end of the phone who lives hundreds of miles away but still holds your hand through every single bad day. It's the friend who humours you through all 573 of your COVID scares, who keeps you company during those long nights of insomnia, the one who always knows the best memes to make you laugh, even on the days you might not feel like it.
It's the old school friend who reached out when things got tough, the family member who showed up just when you needed them the most, the friend you'd long lost touch with who knew, more than anyone else ever could, that you'd be struggling during a year when you had very much lost control of everything else. It's the strangers on the internet who came forward to act as confidantes and offer advice, your next door neighbour who checks in if he hasn't spotted you for a few days just to see how you're doing, the lady in the corner shop who knows that you you just need five minutes of adult conversation before you go back home to the kids.