This little space of mine started as one for sharing stories and opinions about parenting teenagers through to the young adult years, alongside those of my own midlife moments that included the challenges of hitting 50 and being diagnosed with cancer.
Lockdown not surprisingly has forced my focus more onto the teens, the young adults and their losses, to the detriment of introspection and reflections on me and us, the midlife women and men holding it all together during this strange time.
The Early Days
Life is a journey with many navigational detours, but none of us expected this kind of hurdle midway through our midlife, let alone in the security and sanctuary that we have come to take as a given in the 21st Century.
Early days I was although anxious, in my happy place. Despite living in London and being appreciative of all the fabulous culture and entertainment on offer on our doorstep, I love being at home with my family, hunkering down and just getting on.
The mediterranean style weather at the beginning of lockdown helped of course and floating about in beach garb between stints of work and food felt quite surreal and dare I say strangely luxurious.
Now weeks and months into adapting to this new normal way of living, I hold my hand up and confess that despite the luxurious surroundings (ie house with garden) I have gone a bit nuts recently and perhaps like our teens am feeling a bit adrift. Is anyone else feeling that?
The educational timetable always provided a foundation for us all and with the superficial end of schooling on the horizon, the normal sense of excitement at the start of the holiday season is clearly absent and the weeks stretching ahead seem relatively unbecoming.
The list of additional projects I set myself back in March to get through lockdown, is largely untouched and I beat myself up daily about my lack of discipline and application.
Unfettered time at home would seem the perfect opportunity for finally sorting out the family photographs, doing a mass wardrobe clear out, reading the ever mounting pile of books beside my bed and writing more, but bizarrely I lacked focus and incentive.
Tomorrow always seemed the better option, but now those tomorrows have all disappeared. I have, however, read regularly recently that I am actually not alone. This lack of attention and ability to focus is it seems quite common to many.
But whilst the practical chores remain largely untouched, this lockdown world has provided a unique opportunity for discovering more about us as a family and individuals, what makes us all tick, what brings us together and on occasions, what drives us apart.
Like the majority, we adhered to the guidelines in a big way at the beginning. My husband is diabetic with other underlying health conditions and literally rattles with his daily medication. My two year all clear cancer flag pre-lockdown was a welcome relief against what became a desire bordering on obsession to keep us all safe and I suppose, to protect him. No-one came through our front doors.
We took an early morning walk together whilst the house still slumbered, not always speaking, sometimes just enjoying the silence and solitude. Holding hands became the norm and our joint symbol of reassurance, as we faced the little bit of our troubled Covid world and prepared for the day ahead.
We worked bloody hard during the day; not just physically but emotionally, bolstering the ever depleting enthusiasm of our resident teens and looked forward to 5pm. Instigated initially by the daily government briefing it was our coming together time and it still remains our favourite time of the day.
What started as a coronavirus ritual has continued. We sit in the little oasis of evening sun in our garden and chat and laugh and get a bit merry sometimes, like we are teens ourselves again.
Our teens of course get judgmental, but it is not a time for arguments, just togetherness in whatever guise that might take.
Early evening games of backgammon, family dinners, Netflix box sets, dancing to music and tumbling into bed happy and glad that we are still alive and living these precious together moments.
That has gradually changed as we have all been allowed out more and learnt to understand our own personal boundaries and revert once more to being apart.
We started tentatively with drinks at the end of the garden path and then more recently visiting friends and opening our doors too. Outside of course, then inside with the doors open.
More recently we have agreed to teen gatherings in our garden to limit the amount of communal outdoor meets and give them a sense of security too.
Where to next? This new normal that we all talk about is not only undefined but also still untouchable. It will take all of us to make small steps forward to make a big difference.
Do we dare venture outside our little bubbles that we are have been encouraged to create, to get on a train or even a plane to revisit those lost pleasures?
Anxiety is still in the air but forward we must go and as each day slips past we are as a family gradually becoming more confident and are looking forward to a staycation in Norfolk. My family county and a retreat we always took for granted, but which during lockdown seemed untenable.
Of course we need to be mindful of the community we are entering and as a previous local I feel quite protective of their immunity, my parents included of course and ensuring we adhere to the guidelines to avoid being labelled as irresponsible Londoners.
A plane journey abroad seems a step too far right now for us, but we are united in one thing – that we all need not only a change of scene, but to grasp the opportunity to visit relatives and touch base before the autumn sets in.
In the meantime, like many no doubt, our Covid Legacy will be the precious togetherness we all previously craved yet was alway out of reach, but we have been forced by exceptional circumstances to enjoy.
“In the darkness there is always light. In the light there is always hope. In hope there is always love.” Amanda Bevacqua.
Editor’s Note: How are you? Please do let me know how you have and are coping going forward.