2020 has been a year that has created so many questions for me.
Do I trust Bill to color my hair?
Do I wait to wear the dress that I bought for Jacob & Katie’s wedding until we have the celebration with 200 of our friends and family or wear it now?
What’s the correct response to Isabelle when she asked my opinion to go to Costa Rica to study massage therapy?
What’s the right time to install a basketball hoop in my first granddaughter’s driveway?
Will I ever wear the beautiful stilettos in my closet again?
While I still have many more questions than answers, as I look back at 2020, I can give you this.
Love is greater than fear. Kindness and grace are easier to give than judgement and hatred. Freedom is precious and much like having to hold your breath, when you don’t have it in abundance, you realize its importance and significance. Right now we rarely see someone in passing, but rather in a deliberate appointment, in an email, card, call, text or zoom. Every time I reached out, I found a voice that carried me forward.
When 2020 opened I was still grieving for Rachel. Closing the chapter called 2019 was ending a year when I had heard Rachel’s voice and the time since we had been together still seemed short. I was in that year of firsts without her. So what does any Midwestern farm girl do when the feelings get intense? That answer is easy. We get to work and stay busy.
The first two and half months of 2020 were what I call “abundant.” My calendar says I went on seven trips, four with airline tickets, and it felt like I would reach the goal of 300,000 miles on my car. My goal to publish The Family Dough Cookbook by late January gave me focus and my grief for Rachel had a direction. Do you have your copy yet? You can find it on Amazon in print or e-book. I’ve heard cooking at home and making your own bread is on trend!
I competed in my fourth weightlifting competition and missed qualifying for Master Nationals by 3 kg. I wonder if I’ll ever look athletic in a singlet, now that’s another great question! In 2021, I’ll move up an age group and there’s another reason to celebrate my year of 50ness.
What happened next is not unique to me; we will all remember how our worlds shifted in mid-March. In the midst of traveling to Wisconsin for Bill’s birthday to watch the Wisconsin Girl’s State basketball tournament, the season of The Pause began. Over the course of three days, we went from full on tournament to all cancelled. No March Madness, just March sadness.
If you follow my blog #outerbeautyinnerbeast at alicerothbauer.com, then you’ve been with me on my thought journey and all that has changed in the last 9 months. Despite my desire for my world to stay in motion enough not to think and feel AND change, 2020 had other ideas.
In the quiet, I read a book called The Naked Mind that took me to the final decision on my 5 year journey to be alcohol-free.
In the hours of binging on Netflix, I watched The Last Dance with Michael Jordan, and it ignited a passion that had been lacking in my life. I am beyond excited to share that I’ve been invited to join the board of the Women’s Sports Museum in Sarasota. We are a group of leaders with the vision to fundraise and curate the FIRST Women’s Sports Museum in the World. Watch for ways you can support this movement and HER Story in 2021!
For those who remember my heavy metal detox of 2019, my next blog post, Radioactive will disclose all of the details of my wellness journey and achieving my longevity goal of 102+ years young. Please subscribe ☺
My list of what I am grateful for in the last 9 months is far longer than I could have imagined. Even if I still have more questions.
What do you call a baby conceived in 2020?
Coronials who grow up to be quaran-teens! Yes, she’s a girl! Hannah and Tony announced that baby girl Maurer will arrive in early April 2021 (I’m betting on late March!)
Every week we see a picture or a live shot on Zoom of Hannah’s bump and learn that she’s growing from the size and weight of a Polly Pocket to a CD case. Bill and I have been invited to spend March and April in Chilton. I can think of nothing better than watching basketball and rocking baby girl!
How much cake is appropriate to enjoy when your wedding is postponed?
How do you know your daughter-in-law is going to be a gift to your family? She wanted Jake’s Christmas ornaments that I had saved and moved and she knows that food is LOVE. They celebrated their wedding, reimagined on May 16th with cake and smiles of joy. Katie matched as a first year pharmacy resident at the VA in Madison and in November she was asked to stay for a second year. That’s cake, cake, and more cake. Jake’s years at Bohemian Ovens taught him mad kitchen and baking skills and having been to their precisely organized kitchen, I know that “food is love “is a daily event. We were invited to celebrate these special days from afar with our own cakes. We even performed our own dance moves in a video that Katie’s maid of honor Maggie created to send all of our love on their wedding day. Thank you!
Where is the best place to recharge your body, heart and mind?
Florida! When your daughter calls and tells you she needs to come to Florida from San Diego NOW, you book her in 3 days on the same flight you’ll be returning to Tampa from Wisconsin on. Hugs at O’Hara! Isabelle spent two weeks with us in late September. We did all the girl things, massage, new hair color, shopping, plus a career reset and a focus on self-care. The thoughts of becoming a massage therapist were replaced with reconnecting with her major in English and her love of writing and editing. She’s my editor-in-chief on my blog and anything I write (this letter too!).
She’s moved to La Jolla and I have to give a huge thank you to Bev and Jeff Grill, her newly designated west coast Grandparents! When Iz nearly had to evacuate because of wildfires and then needed a place to live between apartment leases, they were there. Jeff is my dad’s first cousin and luckily he charges for rent in potato dumplings.
While she was visiting, Bill was also exploring a career shift to becoming his own boss again. Currently the two of them are looking to buy an online retail business that they can grow together. I love that they have this connection and that she shares her gifts with both of us, although I better get preferential treatment.
This letter is my celebration of the holidays. Receiving YOUR letters, cards, and pictures is like opening gifts on Christmas morning. As I thought of the words to write this year I was filled with this sense of deep human connection to each person in my life.
Humans have much more light inside than darkness and for me it was the connections to others that gave me so much to be grateful for this year and the need to order more Holiday cards ☺