2020 was a wild and sometimes challenging ride for Portland parents. COVID-19 caused schools, indoor play spaces, and even parks to close down. While navigating the constantly changing COVID safety requirements, Portland families still managed to make things work while staying safe. Some might think that most moms and dads look back on 2020 as anything but a positive time in their lives, but when we asked, we were surprised that many look back on it downright fondly. Read on to find out what Portland parents have to say about what they loved about 2020.

photo: Daria Shevtsova via pexels


I’ve been working from home since March, and although it’s been challenging to have interruptions throughout the day as my three kids are online for school, I feel like this experience has made all of us closer. I don’t spend two+ hours per-day driving (one hour commuting each way). I’ve gotten more sleep each day not having to get up extra early to get ready to be in an office environment for the day, and nothing beats having my youngest son come in my room when he first wakes up to give me sleepy snuggles before he gets dressed for the day. Before, I’d leave the house to head to the office before my kids were even awake. I feel like I’ve had more time…more quality time…and I’m so thankful for that.

Lelah Hogan

Portland school districts have rocked the school lunch and breakfast program! I was just thinking about this today. There has been a heightened sense of community reliability and connections. I will be sad if this goes to the way side when normalcy returns.

I have a new appreciation for teachers and how crazy fantastic they have been regarding flexibility and patience with the vast amount of changes. I have heard of several families finding they love to homeschool, or parents being surprised with how well a child does academically versus in a large classroom.

Elise Bays

One thing is it’s made us all slow down a bit more. We are doing more together as a family. Less tv time and more learning together. We bought a piano and now everyone is learning. Our schedules were hectic before and it has been nice to slow it down. I would echo that teachers have been amazing during this time and give so much of their time. The online environment has actually worked better for my son. As a whole I see where people have come together more to help each other.
photo: Micheal  Morse via pexels


2020 has definitely…caused a slow down for many families. Its brought a new appreciation for the old recipes, traditions and generations that hasn’t been as experienced in recent years. My sons and daughter have been able to share so much with my grandbaby, talk freely with my mom and learn more about our family history. Its brought us back together in so many ways and reignited a family spark that our communities were missing for far too long.


I have six kids…I still feel that navigating parenting, working and schooling is something that should be celebrated, because it was bananas. But I took away so much from this year. I slowed down. I spent more one on one time with my kids individually and collectively. We went on adventures and learning transitioned to being outside more. We set goals and navigated mental health and how that looks for our family. It brought us together closer as cooperants to these kiddos and my work as a birth worker was refueled and rejuvenated as so many birthing people came back home to have their babies. If 2020 provided anything it was resilience and connection.

Kate VanLooven

I got to spend time with most of my kids (ages 18 to 26), time I would never have had without the shutdown. We all live in one house, usually on different schedules. We got to garden, cook, and play family games together, opportunities that would not have otherwise happened. Plus, now we know that no matter what’s going on, we will have fun. My dad lives with us, too. His grandchildren and I have been able to spend time with him while he’s still around (he’s 77). Keeping him safe with kids and COVID has been a challenge but worth whatever sacrifices we have had to make.

photo: August de Richelieu via pexels 


Cassie Brighter

One has to work reeeeally hard to find such a silver lining. But I would say that my conversations with my fourteen-yo daughter on systemic racism, American history, the political process and our civic responsibility would be my “good thing.”
But seriously, it’s like asking what’s the best part of a hurricane.


My son taught me some good cooking skills. He likes cooking…I don’t.


I was pregnant and gave birth in June. I swear I have such a chill baby because I was working from home and able to rest, eat healthier and have flexibility which allowed me naps. I was able to focus on having a safe pregnancy vs. commuting and being on my feet, walking to meetings, etc.


Ultimately as hard as 2020 was on full time working parents, the best thing that came from it was we got to spend significantly more time with our kids. Spending so much time together made us closer. Our oldest (13) started talking to us more and wanting to do activities with us instead of playing his video games. We became our 2yr olds best friends and teachers. We got to spend months teaching both of them what we felt was important. It made both my husband and I realize that we need to focus more on our family than on our careers. Sometimes it takes a really shitty situation for you to realize what’s actually important and that was 2020 for us.

—Annette Benedetti


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