A year ago on Mother’s Day, we were all in a very different place—literally. The pandemic had just begun. Many of us were cloistered at home. Others were on the front lines, scared for their lives. School was fully remote. We were still wiping down groceries with Clorox and nervous about going outside. The world felt intimidating, unsafe and uncertain. Spring was replaced with fear.

I don’t remember much about last Mother’s Day. I think I napped. I’m sure I saw my mother outside. I didn’t go shopping for plants at Mahoney’s like usual. I certainly didn’t get a massage or a manicure. I probably scrolled Twitter, watched CNN and quietly panicked in some kind of hazy inertia.

This year, I’m grateful. I’m grateful my kids are thriving (more or less) in remote school (or sometimes in front of their iPad). I’m glad we’re healthy. I’m glad that the adults in my household are vaccinated, something that seemed unthinkable last year. I’m glad that this summer, we’re anticipating a return to familiarity. Both of my kids are going to summer camp. My older son is playing baseball and soccer. My younger one just started soccer and T-ball.

I’m grateful to reach out toward tentative optimism and calculated risk. Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to dinner, outside, for the first time in 13 months. It felt forbidden, like we were sneaking out and breaking curfew (even though we could only snag a 5 p.m. reservation). We sat on a patio, safely spaced from other customers. We kept it short and sweet with the waiter. We left after 90 minutes. It felt like a little jolt of near-normalcy—until I checked social media two days later and discovered that the restaurant had shuttered due to a COVID-19 case. (Luckily, the worker is OK.) We tried.

So there will be false starts and apprehension. There will be awkward conversations and reluctance. But overall, I’m grateful:

  1. That my kids will go to camp soon.
  2. That my kids will go to school in September.
  3. That my kids can safely play sports outside.
  4. That we don’t have COVID.
  5. That we have a safe place to live and a secure source of food.
  6. That I’m getting Mother’s Day bagels from Bagelsaurus on Sunday (black olive and hot smoked salmon!).
  7. That I’m not living in constant fear any longer.
  8. That hope seems to be on the horizon, if not 100% here.
  9. That we live in an area that values science and, usually, compassion.
  10. That my family and friends can come inside my house for the first time in a year (even if this does mean I’ll have to clean a bit more frequently).

What are you grateful for this Mother’s Day? How do you plan to reward yourself? I hope you do, and I hope you enjoy every minute.