What an anniversary…
As we are fast approaching the one year anniversary of Covid (I am one of the lucky ones who gets to celebrate two lock-down birthdays), I thought I would share what things are like for our little family of four.
Each morning, the kids wake me up. I tell them I’ll get up in a minute for approximately half an hour while I lie in bed trying to figure out how I’ll keep them from killing each other today. The days all seem to roll into one; the main daily difference is a different pair of clean pyjamas and a slight variation on the food menu. Sometimes, I tell the kids to get dressed and they stare at me with a confused look on their face and both ask ‘why’. I have no answer.
Pulling myself out of the bed I haven’t spent near enough time in, I open the curtains in trepidation, praying its not raining. As my eyes adjust to the blinding brightness, my worst fears come to life as I realise that yet again, its been snowing. Not a decent blanket of snow but a measly scattering. I decide to keep the curtains drawn downstairs so the kids don’t notice the snow because I’ve become conditioned to staying indoors and I really don’t fancy competing with the neighbours to make something barely resembling a snowman with dirty snow. Also, I am lazy and hate the cold
Coffee, breakfast and… homeschooling?!
I make coffee, swallow some pills to help my ever-growing list of age and covid induced ailments and after giving the kids their breakfast, I open the laptop to dubiously check to see what homework we have been sent. I spend the homework time largely confused by jolly phonics and trying to explain to a 6 year old why the same sounds they are taught each day sound different depending on the word. I’ve come to realise that the English language is designed to confuse you and break your spirit. Why does soup sound like soup but cloud not sound like clood? And why cant you spell cat with a k if they sound the same and why is know not spelled no? All of these questions I am asked by 6yr old son Tom who looks up at me with innocent eyes and I am stumped.
While Tom completes maths partitioning I battle to find something for Molly to do because she too wants homework but alas, being only 4, she can’t read or write, I contemplate adding a splash of vodka to my coffee to ease the morning woes.
As each hour slowly passes, the loneliness kicks in and I ask myself how this has happened and how easily we have become accustomed to this strange way of living. We are now so used to isolation; hugs are but a distant and almost warped memory of something now forbidden (did we really used to embrace people?
The joy of Connection
Then I remember, today is the day we have our Mammies choir and a smile finds its way to my face. In the darkest of days, one thing has remained constant throughout this past year and that is our weekly zoom meet, our chance to see friendly faces; We talk and sing and we are listened to and heard. In the mundane comes the joy that singing together brings.
We laugh because we know that many of us have focused our cameras on the upper halves of our bodies because we still have our pyjama bottoms and slippers on. There is also a fair chance that our coffee cups contain wine. We cry because sometimes its all just a little bit too hard; there is no question about our infinite love for our children but by gosh it can be so emotionally difficult being clung to, needed, demanded and wanted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no escape, no space, little room to breathe. But for this one hour, we are together, a united, often messy haired front, it is friendship, a bond between Mammies and we have each other.
We are all struggling and at times, the loneliness is exhausting and feels like its consuming us, but one hour with other people who are feeling the same way makes everything seem ok. It charges us up, tops up our batteries and gives us the power we need to continue with the long days and difficult nights. There is an end in sight and until then, we just need to keep talking, keep listening and most importantly, keep singing.