Everyone’s experience in 2020 has been radically different. Between October 2019 and January 2020 I traveled about once every three weeks for personal or business reasons. I dined in unique restaurants, saw friends who live all over the country, and was planning Mark’s birthday trip to Yellowstone. I was settled in my first home and my fifth year in a career at a major national retailer.
Like many others, I was shook up in March when my company had to close our stores for eight weeks. For weeks I was convinced I was going to lose my job, unsure about what was going to happen to my house or lifestyle (but was still convinced I was going to go to Yellowstone in May!).
As it turned out, I was immensely lucky (didn’t lose my job), and 2020 has brought much joy to my life.
For starters, working from home means that I greet Mark at the door every night when he gets home. While I can’t see many of my friends, I make up the time with my family who lives down the road. I pursued hobbies like gardening and blogging. Most beneficial to my mental health is a fiancé who loves camping, stays calm, and makes the most of every moment.
About halfway into 2020 I learned that vacations, fancy dinners, and material things are just decorations to my life. What really makes my heart happy is pausing in the middle of a conversation to share a hug with Mark, eating dinner at the table with him, foot rubs and leg massages, cooking breakfast together, and transforming his house into our home through painting and renovations, cleaning and yardwork.
When we found out we were pregnant over the summer (months after our cancelled Yellowstone trip 😉 ), I cried for less than a day. It was the 2019 version of me creeping back in. An unexpected pregnancy simply didn’t match the decorations in my life. But Mark’s genuine joy at the news never faltered. He hugged me while I cried but always wore a big smile. That also made my heart happy.
Being pregnant throughout the second half of this year has brought us deep joy. I have always wanted to be a mom, and it wasn’t very long into dating Mark that I knew I wanted to be the mom to his children. We had talked about being married and parents together many times before finding out we were pregnant. It may not have been my “plan” from 2019, but as my best friend said, it was always THE plan. 2020 was just the year it came to fruition.
Since moving into Mark’s house on Halloween, I have felt an unwavering happiness. No back pain, amount of unpacking, or any events in the world outside the walls of our house has affected that. Not even moving farther away from my family into the “boonies”. This was what I was thinking while doing the dishes just hours before Mark proposed.
He proposed EXACTLY how I have always asked: at home, on the couch, in pajamas, no makeup, with absolutely no one else around.
I know it’s not everyone’s style – many like photo opps, to be feeling beautiful in a done-up face and new outfit, nails freshly manicured. But trust me, not much makes you feel more beautiful than a man asking you to be his partner forever just. The way. You are. (Although note that I did put on a cute outfit and makeup the next day for my first day as a fiancée!).
I’m quite a traditional lady – before getting pregnant Mark and I weren’t planning on living together until we were engaged – so was happy to hear that Mark had already asked my dad for permission to marry me. He had told his mom and best friend that he had a ring, but didn’t tell anyone when it was happening. After he proposed we showed me where he hid the ring all week, we sat on the stairs while I interrogated him about what it was like to buy an engagement ring, and then we snuggled on the couch to “watch” The Great British Baking Show (I didn’t watch much at all as my eyes were fixed on my hand and my finance!). We didn’t call anyone, bring out our phones, or anything.
And just like that we’re heading into 2021. In 2021 we will meet our future ring bearer or flower girl. We’ll start planning our wedding – simple but stylish. And we’ll continue being each other’s support through life’s changes. While 2021 will certainly be a better year for the world, little will top what 2020 has brought me.