I always look forward to the New Year—a fresh calendar on the wall, a blank planner on my desk, and 365 days of possibility ahead. I love making lists, plans, and goals and resolving to become a new, better version of myself. This winter, I was looking forward to the new year even more than usual, and I wasn’t alone. After a year of widespread illness and death, pandemic restrictions, heightened attention to the inequalities of our society, involuntary homeschooling, remote working, and far too much video conferencing, everyone on Earth—or so it seemed from the endless social media memes to that effect—couldn’t wait to see the back of 2020. This year had to be better.
And then 2021 dawned with a violent insurrection at the US Capitol. Although I haven’t always agreed with what has taken place in those hallowed halls, I was aghast to see them desecrated, and shaken to my core. Each night since the attack, terrorists have haunted my dreams, and each day a visceral feeling of revulsion grows and my nerves quiver with dread.
With January already handing us record hospitalizations and deaths as a result of COVID-19, a slow and disorganized rollout of the vaccine, and violence in the heart of our democracy, 2021 is on track to becoming another year we will want to wish away. But it’s the only 2021 we get–there’s no replacement warranty, no money-back guarantee.
I frequently find myself gritting my teeth, just trying to get through a period of time—the work day, a stage in my children’s development, an entire political regime. Two weeks ago, I dropped my oldest son off at college. For the next four months, anytime I see him, we’ll both be masked and six feet apart. Did I appreciate his presence enough over his extended winter break? My younger two sons attend high school two days a week, learning remotely the other three. Am I making the most of having them around? I haven’t seen my parents in two and a half years. Did I enjoy their company enough the last time they visited? Do I ever do enough to pause and really live a moment in time, rather than hurrying on to the next?
This is what we honor here at Literary Mama, through the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry we publish—moments of motherhood. Whether they are painful, beautiful, terrifying, funny, or just plain ordinary, it is these moments that make up our days, our years, and our lives. They are worth noticing, reflecting on, and recording. We hope that you’ll enjoy the moments our writers have shared in this issue, and that reading them brings a measure of calm in this already challenging year.