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Surrendering to Motherhood

Jennifer Huffman's Surrendering to Motherhood: 2020: it’s a wrap

I’ve never been so glad to see a year end.

2020, you’ve been a real SOB, you know that?

You started all sweet and innocent. Full of potential. Sure there were rumblings of some virus in China, but what, me worry?

Naw. We were good.

One of the biggest Huffman family events happened at the end of February this year. Grandpa Donnie turned 80 — or 20 if you only count his Leap Day birthdays.

Family from across the country came to his party at the Dixon Fairgrounds. More than 100 people were there, swapping stories, posing for group photos and passing babies. There was plenty of kissing and hugging. KISSING AND HUGGING!

No social distancing. Not a mask or bottle of hand sanitizer to be seen. Oh, how innocent we were. Like little lambs.

It had Superspreader Event written all over it. Thinking of it now makes me queasy.

Barely two weeks later, the sh*t really hit the fan.

In early March Portland College Girl came home for an early spring break. Less than a week later, her school closed the dorms and kicked the kids out. Two days later she was back at home, where she’d hunker down for the next three months. What was happening?!?!

Even so, this momma was thrilled to have her youngest college kid back in the nest. Because my husband and our other college student were also working/studying/zooming from home, Portland College Girl spent many days in her own private study zone at Grandma Sue’s house. I think Grandma Sue liked having a roommate, especially one who could talk science.

Middle Daughter’s semester at SSU got all thrown out wack. Instead of being on campus and hanging out with other SSU college kids, she was stuck at home on Zoom. Not fun. The good news is that she got a great job at a local winery tasting room, where, with her tips, she makes more than I do in a week. And she always has cash. Keep it going kiddo.

The Denver couple had a rough go of it too. Stuck either working at home or furloughed, they went a little stir crazy. In June on the spur of the moment, they drove back to Napa and ended up staying for three weeks. They even brought their hedgehog, Larry, with them. Speaking of Larry, their little family grew by one this year — his name is Lenny and he’s also a boy hedgehog. They even have their own Instagram account (@ouch_larry) and fan club (@ouchLarryFanclub).

As I am writing this I realize that maybe 2020 wasn’t the complete disaster I thought it was when I started this column.

There were some Big Challenges.

But also some Big Rewards: More face time with our girls. All COVID-19 tests were negative. My husband kept his job KNOCK ON EVERYTHING. I was furloughed, but only for two weeks. Sure, it took six months for me to get my unemployment benefits, but HEY, I finally got my EDD debit card last week. We saved money because we didn’t go on any vacations. Penny the Labrador gets plenty of morning walks.

I learned a new motto this year: “We can do hard things.”

I’m just hoping 2021 is not quite as hard.


This slow-motion video of snow falling around a holiday tree in Madison, Wisconsin, on Dec. 12, perfectly exemplifies the spirit of the holidays.


Which made the list? Jennifer Huffman's top 2020 "Surrendering to Motherhood" columns

Trump, Nutella, Napa chalk wars and Portland college visits. These columns make up Jennifer Huffman's top "Surrendering to Motherhood" columns from 2020. Check 'em out. 

Catch up on Napa County's top news stories of 2020

In case you missed it, here is a look at the top stories of 2020.

Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday. Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @NVRHuffman.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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