So you’re in a state of near-constant freakout over what will happen come September. You see photos of people frolicking on the beach and crowding cruise ships. You’ve read reports about cases creeping upward here in Massachusetts. You’re filling out surveys about hybrid versus remote learning. You’re considering moving to a distant quadrant of Montana and teaching your children how to become professional foragers. Your glove compartment is overflowing with masks. It’s all very stressful.

That said, we need to give ourselves some credit. This surreal hell-scape has forced us to be resilient, to get on with it and to maybe unearth some long-simmering skills that we didn’t know we harbored.

I asked families what they’d done right—absolutely nailed!—thus far, and the responses were overwhelming. You people like to brag! No, but seriously, you deserve it. No triumph is too small these days. Here’s what you have done:

Learned how to tie a karate belt. (No mean feat!)

Discovered how to needlepoint.

Learned new recipes.

Knitted and sewn. (“My family will be covered in wool by the end of the pandemic. Sheep beware!”)

Taken up running and spinning.

Baked sourdough.


Caulked and primed a deck.

Made your own bagels.


Watched all the “Star Wars” movies.

Made 1,0000 face masks. (Amazing!)

Learned how to use a pressure canner. (Sounds painful but industrious.)

Planned a virtual bar mitzvah.

Single-handedly dismantled a washing machine. (I’m sorry.)

Took watercolor painting lessons.

Painted rocks.

Learned how to order pizza for the first time. (This is a milestone!)

Learned how to make challah from scratch.

Spent quality time with your kids.

Cut your own hair.

Joined a tennis team.

Refinished a dining room table.

Played golf with your children.

Started running.

Baked pita bread.

Took up the ukulele.

Slowed down.

Colored your own hair.

Learned to efficiently peel an egg.

Studied and memorized the lyrics from “Hamilton.”

Now, would any of this happened if not for the pandemic? Probably not. Is this situation horrible? Absolutely! But take a minute to look on the hazy, foggy, distant bright side. Maybe when this is over, you’ll be an ace omelet-maker or tuba player or hair colorist. Maybe you’ll learn to appreciate the little things just a tiny bit more. Maybe I’m just telling myself this because I’m staring down another school year with my kids at home…but, no, I don’t think so. It’s wonderful that we’ve accomplished something, anything, right now, and that deserves a moment of recognition.

Life isn’t made up of milestone achievements; it’s worthwhile because of tiny, private triumphs. And when those pleasures are hard to come by, well, we need to take them where we can.

Feel free to share more brags with me; they keep coming in!