I know so many people have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic and my thoughts are with you. My ramblings are not meant to take away from the severity of covid-19 and the struggle everyone has faced.
Well that was a bit of a shit year wasn’t it? Write off! Writing off more importantly. Where have I been? Hiding mainly.
I’ll start with the first lockdown. You’ve never seen anyone cry as much as I did when I found out I wouldn’t be able to work because nurseries were rumoured to be closing. Honestly, and no it’s not because I was desperate to work it was because I was so overwhelmed at the thought of raising my own son (and fear of missing out because at that time not everyone had received the stay at home order. I thought I was being punished.) I had relied so heavily on having pockets of other people helping shape him into the wonderful model citizen I portray him to be but now it was all down to me. They say it takes a village but suddenly the village was me and Frankie. I remember the group chats all started buzzing with excitement, or panic, with ideas of how to entertain these little people for 3 weeks. Ha. 3 weeks! I carefully browsed the various “toddler timetables” that had clearly been leaked from generous childminders who could sense the countries mums’ panic. I chose one that didn’t look like too overwhelming and pinned it carefully to the wall only to be immediately forgotten about on day 2. Then remembered about on day 3 when hundreds of boxes with pipe cleaners and PVA glue arrived from Amazon. Right, I can do this!
I cried so much because I was torn with my own feelings of distraught about being told to stay home and not see friends of family with fear of this deadly virus that was ripping through the country and then my overwhelming sense of guilt of the privileged position I was sitting in; house with a garden when I knew there was so many people who didn’t have that luxury and were struggling to entertain children whilst juggling work. I was furloughed and had open space and resources and I was still upset. I had to really give my head a wobble but the worst bit is I knew how lucky I was and it was the guilt that was upsetting me the most.
Something we really struggled with was explaining to River why he could see some things but not other especially family. It doesn’t seem right to explain to a 3 year old that it’s fine that we can go and buy toilet roll (if you’re lucky) in a shop but he couldn’t see his relatives. He’s really missed seeing everyone but we’re so lucky to live in a world of technology where a face to face conversation can be at the click of a button and he doesn’t have to forget what people look like and he can maintain that relationship. Although I think he may need to consider a full suit of armour when his Granny finally gets her hands on him because it’s going to be a year overdue hug.
As hard as the first lockdown was I did like the way the country came together to lift each other up. Our villages had a huge convoy every week that the kids could go out and cheer on. Neighbours would leave little thoughts on the doorstep and we had all those rainbows to spot in people’s windows. I know mentally we were all in the gutter but we did little things for each other. Shopping, checking in. That’s a spirit we need to keep going.
The first lockdown lasted longer than I care to remember but I do recall the feeling of seeing friends in the garden again. The joy of little people screaming and running around after each other. The collective sighs of contentment of mums who were no longer spending all day trying to learn what they’re supposed to be teaching their children or fretting because their child has watched so many hours of Youtube that the free trial for premium has now been extended to 6 months. Contentment and hope. This three weeks had turned into much longer but suddenly it felt like we might be on the way back to “normal.”
River has some fantastic friends of varying ages and he has been so lucky to get to spend time with them. He’s had fantastic garden parties, trips to the park and a playdate at the farm. In a way I’m so happy about all the fresh air he’s had to have in a world where technology is overtaking grazed knees and runny noses. I do think we’ve had a bit of a cultural reset in appreciating days out in all weather.
Then I went back to work and my whole new routine went upside down but I suddenly felt like me again. I was speaking to more people and enjoying going out of the house for more than just emergency essentials. We were starting to be allowed back to places that allowed you to pay for the pleasure of being there and we latched on to the cinema as if someone had invented fire in front of us. We went most days and I didn’t feel guilty about River having screen time because we had gone in the car to get there. We went to the farm so often I think the proprietors were considering a restraining order. The wetland centre stopped asking to see my membership card, they knew us by name. Then suddenly everything shut again and it felt like the only thing we were allowed to do was work. Well, actually the only thing we were allowed to do was work or pay VAT. Nice one, Bozza.
We’re now on the way out of lockdown 3 and honestly the year has been such a shitshow that I’m not even sure what happened when we came out of lockdown 2. I think that’s when my deep hibernation began and I stopped “people-ing”. And now I’m not sure how to “people” again. River has bounced from one change to the other like it’s nothing whilst I’ve spent 40 percent of the time crying. I did get fit though! Took me long enough but I found a new outlet in exercise and if you asked me a spin around the sun ago if I would ever be into fitness and getting up early to get the Aldi Bestbuys gym equipment I’d laugh in your face. Now instead of a bottle of wine for 2 me and Frankie are fighting over who gets the last protein yoghurt. On a serious note I didn’t realise how much exercise could help your mental health and I’m at last embracing this.
The positive things I took from lockdown(s):-
- My appreciation for River and Frankie’s company. (Sometimes)
- How we can look after each other as a nation, lets keep that spirit going always
- The outdoors. Just all of it. Even a walk round the block (so long as no one narks on you for doing two in one day)
- A pub meal! (God give me a pie and mash right now.)
- Friends are just awesome
- The NHS. It must be protected at all costs.
I’m finally getting back to mentally being able to cope with the world and looking forward to some more freedoms where people stand at least 2 meters away from me at all times. Forever.