Tuesday, September 29, 2020

One Little Word: September 2020

On the last Tuesday of each month, Honoré at Morning Glory Studio hosts us for a link-up for our monthly review of our One Little Word. Amazingly it's the final Tuesday in September; I think this month has been the fastest this year, and I can't believe it's over tomorrow!

My word for 2020 is savor, and over the past month, I've been noticing that the one thing I've been savoring more than anything else is time with my family. Now, I don't mean just my immediate family, because we all know we've been spending plenty of time together. I'm talking about my extended family -- my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law -- who all live within a mile of us but who we've still been pretty isolated from during the pandemic. We have gotten together occasionally in safe ways (outside, mainly, where we could be at a safe distance from one another), but as the days start to get shorter and cooler, I've become more aware that the time when we can do that is limited. The scarcity of our time together has thus given it more meaning.

In the early days of the pandemic, back when we didn't know too much about how the virus spread or how easily it spread, we were being extra careful. Passover fell shortly after lockdown measures were put in place, so we had a Zoom seder, connecting with all the extended family online while we had our festival meal, with food my mother had cooked and delivered in care packages to everyone in town. Everything was still new and something of a novelty, so it was kind of exciting and fun.

By this month, though, Zoom fatigue had become a real thing, so we have switched from involving everyone to smaller in-person gatherings -- again, safely distanced. We've resumed our weekly Friday night Shabbat dinners with my parents, though we only do them when we can eat outside. And for Rosh Hashanah earlier this month, we had a small dinner with my parents, my brother, and my sister-in-law on our deck, where we set up two long folding tables so we could all be properly spaced out. There was a lot of delicious food to eat and the weather was beautiful. I paused in the middle of my matzah ball soup to snap this photo:

In the Before Times, I really used to take it for granted that I'd be able to gather with my family for holidays and even normal dinners. We didn't have to worry about whether or not it was warm and dry enough to eat outside or how far apart we had to sit from one another. And now I appreciate the opportunities to gather and celebrate together so much more, and I'm savoring them all the more now because I know they are limited in number. Soon the weather will make it impossible to sit outside for a meal and we'll be back to Zoom and FaceTime to see each other. As excited as I typically get for fall and sweater weather, I am extra grateful for the warmer, dry weather we've had this month, as it made this and other get-togethers possible. Next month my parents are headed down to Florida, where they plan to stay through the winter. I am hoping that by the time they're ready to head back home, there is a vaccine available and we can all be together again, in person and close to one another. I know I will savor nothing more than being able to once again hug my family!

You can find all my previous One Little Word posts for the year here, and I'm looking forward to reading yours!


  1. It is truly wonderful to be able to gather with extended family, and all the more so because you realize this and are savoring it. I wish your parents safe travels to Florida, safety in Florida, and many opportunities for your family to get together before the snow flies.

  2. This weather is indeed such a blessing and there is a part of me that hopes that this stretches into the fall to allow for more outdoor social gathering!

  3. I so enjoyed this post, Sarah, in hearing (and seeing!) your ways of being together and continuing to honor the ways of doing rituals & traditions together--in as much as possible. It hit me last week that our outdoor days are numbered. The group that gathered, distanced, on my patio to talk about race wants to meet again. And if it were to be a monthly conversation, well, we MIGHT have a month left. I'm starting to wonder how many backyard fire pits it would take for friends & family everywhere to continue to be together outside?!

    1. I've also been thinking about how long I'll be able to keep running outside and remembering the early days of stay at home, when I used to go out and walk in the rain and snow because I needed to get outside!

  4. Life is so different now, but I'm glad your family has found ways to see each other. I've been thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas -- I'm not sure what those holidays are going to look like. I'm glad your holidays this summer/early fall felt a little more typical for you and your family -- even though they weren't exactly as they had been before. And I'm hoping you get plenty more Shabbat dinners with your parents before they head down to FL!

  5. I'm so glad you're able to find ways to celebrate with your family (for now . . . ). We had a very small gathering at my house (my son and his wife and Tom and I) recently - outside only . . . was the plan. But it started to pour just as we were ready to eat! So we opened all the windows (it was chilly) and set up an oscillating fan so it blew right over the table (making it chillier). It was pretty silly, but it worked to keep the air moving and we could still eat together. I think our holiday celebrations will look very different - and time will tell if we'll be able to be together or not. But if we are? We'll have to dress warmly and keep the air moving!

  6. I'm so grateful we have Katie and her family in our little bubble so we will have a full table for Thanksgiving (perhaps with others via Zoom). My sister and I laughed last night about how we were going to manage porch time as it gets colder. We were both bundled up, but still able to knit!