Explore the Archives
A Journal of the Plague Year Arizona Collection Australia Boston Bronx Community College New York Brooklyn College New York Canada Las Americas New Orleans Oral Histories Philippines Teaching the Pandemic

Collected Item: “Stopping to smell the flowers.... and focus on gratitude”

Give your story a title.

Stopping to smell the flowers.... and focus on gratitude

What sort of object is this: text story, photograph, video, audio interview, screenshot, drawing, meme, etc.?


Tell us a story; share your experience. Describe what the object or story you've uploaded says about the pandemic, and/or why what you've submitted is important to you.

Since mid-May, our 18yo son's friend has been living with us. D's mother is immunocompromised, and he needed to return to work when restaurants re-opened to save money for college in the fall. He moved in, adding a fourth teenager to our house. He is a wonderful guest and we have enjoyed having him. It can't be easy for him to live with a family that is not his own, but he handles it very well.
Last week, these flowers arrived for me. D's dad and grandmother sent them (they live out of state) as a thank you for us hosting D these past months. I was so surprised and touched by the gesture. I know D and his family are grateful that he has a safe place to live while ensuring his family's health, and I appreciate that. While literally stopping my day to smell my flowers, I started thinking about gratitude, and the ways I will always be grateful to 2020:
- My family is healthy, safe and together.
- I realize that my son knows the value in surrounding himself with good people; getting to know his friend has been a blessing.
- We were able to continue our school and work lives, even while isolated at home. Not all are so lucky.
- As things re-open slowly, our lives are not returning to the crazy levels of busy that is our normal. Instead of school and practices and large gatherings, small groups of friends are coming over almost every day, and I love having a full house.
- Our future plans are still moving forward, albeit in a different format. Online classes for my high schoolers and hybrid college classes for college kids. Working from home. We are making it all work.
- While we haven't been having family crafting projects or other Instagram worthy activities, we have been able to connect often and easily. A conversation about politics; one about ethics; another about relationships. All of these happened organically because we are physically together. Also conversations about LeBron vs. Michael and ranking of the Star Wars franchise; not every conversation is deep.
- Most importantly, I realize that the first half of 2020 was a gift: I got extra time with my kid, right before he leaves for college. I got extra time with my high schoolers that wasn't carved out of a crazy schedule. My husband and I spent time reading next to each other and doing puzzles.
It would be crazy for me to say 2020 has been wonderful; it hasn't. It has been awful. However, even in these crazy and unsure times, there can be gratitude. And flowers. And Star Wars movies.

Use one-word hashtags (separated by commas) to describe your story. For example: Where did it originate? How does this object make you feel? How does this object relate to the pandemic?

flowers, gratitude, Star Wars, kids, family, time

Who originally created this object? (If you created this object, such as photo, then your name goes here.)

Erin Craft

Give this story a date.

Click here to view the corresponding item.