As we lit fireworks after midnight, I found myself mixed with emotions. I regard myself as aggressively balanced, so it surprised me to feel both deep sadness and hopeful expectation as twenty twenty-two began. It only became clear after looking back at twenty twenty-one in photos that I realized what I’ll be missing and be thankful for.
I continued to work from home for most of 2021. Having my work computer allowed me to have a personal gaming station after Jenni took over the main computer downstairs for video projects. I played a lot of Rainbow Six Siege in 2021. I’m grateful for Vernier to allow me to work from home during the pandemic. Though I returned to the office for a few months before the kids started public school in the fall, being able to take the girls to the school bus in the mornings and having lunch with Bruce is a privilege I’ll miss when I go back to the office.
January birthdays were cold celebrations. My parents made me a lunch feast and we enjoyed it in their garage and driveway. For Travis’ birthday, we visited the zoo and its animals. We appreciated our families willingness to brave the cold to keep everyone safe and healthy as the COVID cases soared.
We started our search for a new house shortly after my birthday. We didn’t know that the housing market was going to be crazy this year and we suspended our search in August after most of the prospects were out of our price range or didn’t meet our needs. It’s uncertain if we’ll continue to search for a house in 2022.
Every year, we wish for snow, and we were graced with cold weather to sled and made snowballs. We played at the playground near our house, Recuerdo Park, with our neighbors for a few hours.
My Po Po passed away on February 11, 2021. She had been ill several times before but always stubbornly recovered. I was caught off guard how fast she declined. She now rests with my grandpa. It was a blessing to have her 20 years after his passing.
We visited Trillium Lake for the first time on our anniversary. We were not prepared to hike four miles through snow but the view was worth it.
My dad took a fall while visiting Thor’s Well and injured his leg. It was hard to see him limping along with a cane and it reminded me to never take for granted the time I have with them. Most of my childhood, my parents took me places to appreciate the world we live in. I tried to return the favor by driving them to places, old and new, to enjoy the view and their company.
As safe as we could, we leaned in to our family and friends to help us through the pandemic. For a brief month of the summer, it seemed like we were nearing the end of COVID-19.
Thanks to friends like Leah, we embarked on challenges to see new horizons. The hike up Saddle Mountain is not likely one we’ll do again soon but it was an incredible climb.
I happily shared some of my favorite bike ride routes with coworkers and friends this year. I didn’t have as much motivation to ride this year, but riding with friends gave me hope for the future.
Jenni and I both lost our grandmothers this year. Jenni’s grammy, Elaine, epitomized being young at heart. Some of Jenni’s greatest strengths were passed down from her grandmother.
The apex of the year was traveling to California with our neighbors. I couldn’t imagine going on a family trip with my besties as a teenager so it was a huge blessing to be able to do this with our kids. Disneyland was epic in their experience design. The atmosphere was immersive and we had a blast enjoying the rides.
But the main reason we traveled to California in the midst of a pandemic was because my cousin Charlene was getting married. They had a beautiful and generous ceremony and we couldn’t be happier for them.
One of our gerbils died the day when we were on our way home from California. We discovered her after we returned home from their babysitters. We were so excited to see them again. We will miss Pearl and grateful for all the cuteness she brought to our lives in the year we had her.
The kids got even (their ages that is) this year and Bruce hit his milestone 10. Bruce and I took a special trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Olympia to celebrate. They grow up so fast and we do our best to celebrate each birthday as big as we can.
Christmas time often brings anxiety and excitement in a packed month. We kept it simple but enjoyed new traditions like making a gingerbread house and a Hill sibling pre-Christmas Christmas. I always look forward to this month when I can wish everyone, friend and strangers alike, a “Merry Christmas.”
Through it all, Jenni and I have stood on God’s promises to lead us in uncertain and divisive times. We pray for peace and reconciliation for our country so we can come together and solve problems rather than tear each other apart.
The world has gotten bigger and smaller this year. Due to the pandemic, I’ve read more news than I ever have before and it paints a dystopian view of the world that only God’s hope can help keep me from despairing.
Isolating due to the pandemic has drawn me closer to my immediate family. I’ve enjoyed working from home and getting more time with my kids as they all approach the often-dreaded teenage years.
In this coming year, I’m looking to take what twenty twenty-one has taught me and contribute positive things in the world through worship, art, and service. And not waste the life that God has given me, but to savor and cherish it. Happy new year everyone!