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  • Writer's pictureJessica McQuistin

An Open Letter to the New Year

Dear 2022,

Sorry I didn't celebrate your arrival. I didn't watch any fireworks or countdowns. Not even on TV. I didn't stay up till midnight. I was in bed by 10:30 - late for my usual schedule, but decidedly early in the context of the holidays. I needed to start nudging my bedtime back toward its usual timezone and your birthday (er...birthnight?) seemed as good a time as any.

I didn't make any resolutions for you. Just before you came, a friend asked me if I had any resolutions, and my honest answer was "nah, I'm good". (My inner self-development junkie raised an eyebrow in disbelief, but deep down I knew that my nonchalance was genuine.) I told my friend I was excited to start volunteering at my kids' school, which has been a dream of mine for a few years now and was set to start in January "...But we'll see!" I dubiously added. If I had a nickel for every time I've tacked those words onto the end of a sentence over the past couple of years...

The kids were looking forward to taking group music lessons and reuniting with their friends.

A close friend of mine was looking forward to finally travelling again in January.

We were all looking forward to something.

But once again, our plans are on pause due to the pandemic.

Though I'm disappointed, I'm also relieved. What an odd pair of emotions to carry simultaneously! It didn't feel right to send my unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated kids to school with more Covid cases in Ontario than we've ever had, but I didn't want to make the decision to keep them home when schools were open, so I was planning on ignoring my motherly instincts and sending them anyway...Or maybe I was going to change my mind last-minute and keep them home, but feel bad about keeping them away from their friends...Either way, I'm just glad I can keep them safe and healthy, and hopefully somewhat happy too, as they learn online for the next (little? please let it be little...) while.

2022, I'm curious what you will reveal over the next few weeks and months. I have a feeling that better times are ahead, and that we'll make the most of yet another setback. After all, kids do grow up quickly, and it's pretty awesome that they're still excited about spending more time with me, even after a lot of family time over the holidays! They really are at sweet ages...

Oh! I have got to tell you about Joseph! Over the holidays, I've been spending more time playing piano again - some easy classical stuff, the odd Christmas carol, and songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - in other words, whatever sheet music I've managed to dig out the piano bench that isn't too frustrating for my rusty fingers. It turns out the kids love Joseph and have actually learned the words to "Any Dream Will Do"! I tried to just teach them the background vocals (you know, the famous "ah-ah-ahhh" part) but no, they insist on singing every word along with me, and each time we finish the song they ask to sing it "one more time!" I have a hunch they may not be as enthusiastic about belting out Joseph tunes with their mom at the piano when they're in their teens, so I've got to soak up these precious moments while I can!

'22, (Is it alright if I call you that? You can call me Jess if you want, but never Jessie. Ok?) I promise to try to get along with you, and maybe even become friends, in spite of your fickle nature. I'll do my best to accept you as you are and create joy with you wherever possible, while accepting my own limitations and the full range of emotions that I expect to experience this year (many of which I expect to experience on any given day of navigating virtual school with a JK kid and a Gr. 1!).

That's about all I've got to say for now '22. But I'll leave you with a few words from "Any Dream Will Do" that struck me as relevant in describing these times (in an over-simplified and dreamy way, yet, still effective if you ask me!)

The world and I

We are still waiting

Still hesitating

Any dream will do

Cheers to you, '22! Let's do this thing.

Your cautiously (foolishly?) optimistic new pal,



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