I Can’t Believe it Has Been a Year!


As the 2021 calendar turned to March, the first thought I had was, we have been living the COVID-19 pandemic life for a year! Seriously, it has been 12 months of this shit. And while the vaccine rollout is happening (slowly), brighter days are finally ahead. But leaving February behind has been a mental kick in the gut if you take a moment to really reflect on the last 12 months.

For me my first memories of how it started was the daily tracking of the Diamond Princess. You remember? The floating coronavirus event that was really the first sign of what was to come. Reading in horror, all of the people trapped in their rooms literally. At the time, I doubt anyone felt that 12 months later we would all know the feeling. But it was on the other side of the planet. Everything was going to be okay and not reach Canada. Right?

Work was starting to take basic measures. Handshaking was out. Awkward fist bumps and elbowing was in. Practicing if everyone could actually work from home. But it all felt very temporary.

There were rumours that the virus had reached Washington State, but it was only a few people. It would get contained. Or so we thought.

March Break was coming fast. I took the week off to have a fun five days with the kids and all I was hoping was nothing would get canceled or shut down.

I became the finder of toilet paper

People started to panic shop almost immediately. We heard on the news that toilet paper was GONE. Cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer was GONE. Dasani water was NOT GONE as nobody wanted to drink it. There was endless footage on the news of line ups at the grocery store. Were their Cabbage Patch Kids on sale?

So I somewhat jokingly headed over to the local Metro to get some paper towel expecting it to be all overblown. But sure enough, the store was picked clean of certain items. There was certainly no toilet paper. Katie and I were like, we will be fine, they will restock.

Just a side note, it was not until many days later I was able to secure toilet paper. I came home, walked in the door and shouted for my family to come see what I had found. Yes, it was all in jest. But looking back, it was not as silly as I was making it out to be. My profile name on Disney + (which we signed up for on March Break) to this day is still Finder of toilet paper. I am not changing it until this pandemic is over.

Okay back to our story.

The NBA turned the lights out

Then the bomb dropped that brought everything into a cold-hard reality for me. The NBA canceled games. The Internet blew up. Things got real.

It was a Wednesday night. Nothing out of the ordinary. Flipping channels. Then all over TV and Twitter, the NBA just pulled players off the floor from warm ups and cancelled the game. You saw the footage of when players found out. So many people mouthing – what??

Guess what happened next?

A Utah Jazz player had tested positive for the coronavirus. I immediately thought of the Raptors-Jazz game from two nights previous. Did the Raptors now have it? Is there title defense over? Yes, I know. Not the most important thing to focus on, but hey – they were the defending champs!!

One more game was completed that night and the NBA was all shut down. Think about that. A Billion dollar sports organization just shut down on the spot over one reported case.

This started the worry. What was next? Do we go to work? What happens to the hockey game we had tickets to the following week.

Sure enough other sports leagues followed. Everything was postponed

Watching the national news later that night was chaotic as everyone was just trying to digest what was quickly happening to the world and our lives.

March Broke

The next few days, kids finished up school, we got settled in to our home office set ups and we moved forward, again thinking it was all going to be temporary.

As messages started to circulate about everything being shut down, as a family we realized there was A LOT of stuff we needed at stores. So we talked ourselves into it being okay to go to the mall and avoid people.

Harry actually had a playdate that day at a friend’s house. Should it still happen? It was all weird. We all decided to move ahead, so we dropped Harry off and headed to the mall.

It was the weirdest shopping experience. You could tell everyone was thinking the same thing. We did some shoe shopping, stocked up on books and since it looked like March Break was going to be much more boring than expected, we bought some LEGO. It’s amazing how you can talk yourself into buying expensive stuff when you think you will be stuck in the house. Katie will forever remember that day every time she laces up.

We ate in a pretty empty food court for lunch. McDonalds I believe. We noticed every person who sneezed, coughed or did anything weird. Much more than normal anyways. Mid lunch we got a call. Harry’s playdate was cut short over worry and parent guilt, so we headed to pick him up and then went home. That weekend. Almost a year ago. I can remember it very clearly still.

From then on, memories start to get blurry.

  • March Break was unlike any other. Instead of going places, we stayed home, built forts and played A LOT of video games.
  • I finally watched the Mandalorian.
  • We built the LEGO Sandcrawler.
  • We played soccer in the back yard. We played in the front yard and felt really weird not going near anyone.
  • We went on a lot of walks. So many walks.
  • To bring spirits up, we had a half-birthday party for Harry.
  • The “we are all in this together” signs started popping up all over Parkdale.
  • We did our first porch visit.

School was a mess

Oh and I totally forgot, this whole time we were also trying to figure out what to do with the kids as we had also learned school was not going back for two weeks after March Break. Ha, if only it was two weeks.

I can’t write much about the next few months as I have seemed to have buried all of those feelings. In a word, it was frustrating.

The chaos of online school (if you can call it that), working at home and learning to deal with truly being together all of the time.

Online school did have some positive takeaways. But I think I can speak for the family that March to June was rough in terms of learning

As you know, it was not a two week delay for school. It ended up being the remainder of the school year.

Bumpy walk down memory lane

So that is just the tip of the iceberg of what is floating through my mind as we hit the not so awesome anniversary of when COVID-19 really took shape.

Thankfully our family did not even have it that bad when everything changed. Life went on not that different. Sure, it was hard to not see people or shop, or eat out, but the Internet helped out a lot of those situations. It was more of an annoyance. We did not experience hardships like so many others did. I am thankful for that.

As we rolled through February 2021, the pandemic felt long. It felt tiring and draining. But for me, it was not until the calendar flipped to March that it all truly sunk in. It’s been a year. A year of Zooms, curbside pickups, wearing masks, following arrows, watching ALL the shows and trying to find the positives.

I do hope we can get this vaccine roll out organized and going full tilt very soon. It’s the only way we will get back to whatever normal is going to be.

That is my story.

What are your memories of when the COVID-19 pandemic began? What events or moments finally made you realze it was real and would change our lives?

Please share in the comments.

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