At some point over this past year, since the pandemic started, a new chant started in our family.

You see, morale has been fluctuating in our 1,100 square foot home with two adults working/ homeschooling/ adulting and three children (six and under) playing, creating, learning, and fighting. One day, my husband came out of our bedroom/office, noticed a certain look in my eyes (desperation mixed with exhaustion and a wee bit of hope, I suspect), and he said, "Come on, kids, cut Mom some slack, would you?"

More fighting/laughing/whining ensued. Slack was not yet cut.

"Come on, kids… give Mommy a win!" He said loudly.

They stopped. They looked at him.

"Give Mommy a win! Give Mommy a win!" He shouted, smiling, knowing he was onto something.

The kids looked at each other. Back and forth, back and forth. "Give Mommy a win!" they joined in, now smiling and laughing wildly. "Give Mommy a win!" they chanted as they encircled me.

It was one of those magical parenting moments when something just workedfor no good reason at all and poof!—I took my first step out of my funk and laughed alongside them.

From that moment on, in moments of noticeable frustration, my husband or one of my kids might start the chant, trying to make me smile, trying to signal a peace treaty of sorts. And, to be honest, I don't think it has failed me yet. I can at least semi-snap out of it.

As New Year's Eve draws closer, the shift into 2021 feels like a win in and of itself. No magical spell will be cast, our current pain and challenges won't immediately be wiped away, some stress will remain—but the universe will reach out with an olive branch. Its own peace treaty. And we will be offered the opportunity not everyone gets—the opportunity of a fresh start.

The disappointment, overwhelm, and hurt of 2020 won't be erased, but the crispy freshness of January will soften it for us. And even the slightest bit helps.

The ups and downs of this past year have been astounding. Never did I think I'd go from setting up Zoom meetings for my kindergartener to agreeing to fully homeschool my kids with a span of only a few months. Never did I think I wouldn't be able to say goodbye to my grandfather in person when he passed. But in March, when he died, no one was allowed to be with him. We said our final goodbyes on a Zoom call set up by my sister, a nurse with a huge heart, and actually about ten other people to coordinate it. Never did I think my husband would be working from home this long or that we'd consume as much Ben & Jerry's as we have.

Never did I think I'd feel like I was living in the Twilight Zone some days or in the movie Groundhog Day other days—for so long.

Never did I think this would be what life was like. Masks, political arguments, hand sanitizer, Covid tests, mind-numbing TV shows and TikToks, indecisiveness, take out, worry, extra stress, extra exhaustion. 2020, honestly, why did you have to be so extra?

Whatever battles you fought this year, you did it—congratulations! We are almost there.

The battles won't end when the ball drops, and we know that. We know we'll still be showing up to fight the good fight, to deal with stress, to worry about unrest. But now, we can show up with a renewed sense of hope. A sense of better days to come. We've been through a lot this year—some more than others, of course—and it hasn't been easy.

For the moms who've lost a loved one—we see you, we honor you.

For the moms who've lost a job, housing, insurance—we see you, we honor you.

For the moms who've lost time to themselves—we see you, we honor you.

For the moms who've lost relationships—we see you, we honor you.

For the moms who've lost track of their goals, their plans—we see you, we honor you.

You know what you need?

A win! You need it and you deserve it.

Everybody now! "Give Mommy a win!"

May 2021 be the biggest win in the universe for you, mama. We are forever rooting for you.