Coronavirus has been awful for so many, with lives and jobs lost, savings depleted and, of course, the sideshow that is home schooling.
But amongst the horror, there have been little glimmers of light. And it's those glimmers that we hold onto, to try to make sense and find the upside of 2020.
For me, the greatest one has just emerged - after 15 years of parenting, I'm closing a chapter that I honestly thought was going to go on forever: costumes.
Thanks to the Children's book Council of Australia cancelling Book Week for 2020, I am officially off the hook. At my children's primary school, they only dress up to the end of Year Two, and my youngest happens to be in that year.
We already dodged the Easter hat bullet this year, and now, with Book Week cancelled, my 15-year career as a costume-making mum has come to an end with a whimper rather than a bang – but I couldn't be happier.
Since my oldest child, who is about to turn 16, was in daycare as a baby, I have had to come up with costumes for all manner of events: Halloween, Easter, Christmas and Valentine's Day – plus arbitrary dress-ups created by sadistic teachers and carers such as hippy day, police day, rainbow day, and dress up as Dad day (never dress up as Mum day, which is a whole other article).
It seems you can divide parents up into two categories: those who love coming up with clever costume ideas, research for months, and create incredible outfits out of scraps they find around the home and their repurposed wedding dress – and parents like me who groan when they receive the email, live in denial until the week before the event, and then pay for express shipping on a Where's Wally costume they found online.
Where's Wally has been worn by two of my three children now (and was even repurposed as a Harry Potter costume with the addition of a long coat and a magic wand), and it remains in great, albeit highly flammable, condition. A solid investment.
Even as a child, I hated dressing up. I remember dressing as Puss in Boots for Book Week when I was about eight, insisting to my mother that wearing a pair of ankle boots and a headband with cat ears was sufficient to fulfil the brief. I loved books, but hated the circus of dress-ups.
And now, as a parent, my costume days are finally over. I thought at the start of the year I would put in a bit of extra effort for my last hurrah, but COVID-19 had other ideas and I don't feel the least bit cheated.
Just like speedskating legend Steven Bradbury coasting to victory as every other finalist fell to the ice, I am home clear without having to break a sweat. And if anyone wants a very worn Where's Wally costume, I can totally hook you up.