The Lockdown Diaries | Week 4 | Easter in Isolation
[On March 16th, our family – like many others in the UK and around the world – started what we’re currently being told will be 12 weeks of social isolation, in a bid to help flatten the curve, and stop my immunocompromised husband catching coronavirus – along with the rest of us, obviously. I, naturally, decided to document the experience in diary form: so here’s what week 1 looked like… ]
Early this week, I had a long – and very intense – dream in which I realised I’d put the dishwasher onto the 3 hour cycle, instead of the 30 minute one, by mistake, and, honestly, I think that pretty much sums up week 4 of our lockdown, really.
Why did I think this would make a good ‘diary’ series, I wonder? How on earth will I continue with it when it gets to day 496, say, and I’m just sitting here all, “Today we stayed at home again.” I mean, REALLY, though?
The fact that I’ve started dreaming about dishwashers rather than social distancing, however, is probably a good sign, because it means that my anxiety is starting to subside a little*. I remember once, years ago, I went to see my doctor about some random health anxiety-driven issue (So, a totally imaginary one, then…), and she suggested running some tests, “to put my mind at ease.” The results, however, would take a few weeks to come back, apparently – which, I immediately informed her, I WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BEAR.
“Amber,” said the doctor, kindly but firmly. “Trust me: you will cope. Because you just won’t be able to sustain the anxiety for THAT long.”
I could, though. And I pretty much DID, too. So that showed HER, huh?
With this, though, it’s slightly different. Sure, I’m still freaking out every time someone coughs, and I spent all of Thursday convinced I had CV19 because my nose was running and my throat was a bit sore, but, for the most part, never leaving the house means I feel somewhat removed from everything that’s going on, Covid-wise. So the anxiety I generally feel has been replaced with sadness, instead – and even THAT isn’t present ALL the time, much to my surprise. We’re getting used to it, I guess. Lockdown has become the norm. And THAT’s a sentence I never expected to type, for sure.
For the most part, then, our week was relatively calm – parts of it, in fact, were even quite pleasant, thanks to the warmer weather we had at the start of the week, which allowed us to spend plenty of time out in the garden. On Wednesday afternoon, it was finally warm enough to sit out without a jacket, so Terry and I abandoned our usual childcare shifts to sit in the sun for a while, drinking coffee and eating ice lollies, while Max played with some leftover Orbeez I’d found in the back of a kitchen cupboard.
“I almost forgot we were living through a pandemic for a few minutes there,” said Terry, and while I hadn’t quite forgotten about it (The top I changed Max into when he managed to pour a jug full of water – don’t ask – over himself, was one my mum had bought him for the holiday he won’t be going on next month, and, naturally, it was like a stab to the heart as I pulled it out of the closet. Not a literal stab to the heart, obviously, because zip-up hoodies don’t actually have that kind of power, but… close.), I have to admit, it was pleasant sitting enjoying the sun and, well, it’s nice to feel something other than crushing misery and abject fear every now and then, isn’t it?
At the weekend, however, the misery was back, because, as well as being Easter – my very favourite holiday – it was also my mum’s birthday: and a significant one, at that. My mum was very clear that she didn’t want us to send anything, but she had been looking forward to a trip to Seacliff and a meal in a nice restaurant near there, and it made me so sad to think that even those simple things are completely impossible right now.
Instead, we had to make do with FaceTime: and then, instead of the Easter lunch my mum has been planning since Christmas, Terry and I had an egg hunt with Max in the garden, just the three of us. Max loved it, of course, because he doesn’t know any different: I, however, remember last Easter as if it was last week, and it was such a lovely day that the contrast with this year was particularly sharp. I keep telling myself there will be other Easters – of course there will – but that doesn’t make it any easier to have missed this one: or any of the other things that were supposed to be happening during this strange, cancelled spring.
(I’ve actually re-written that paragraph a few times now, because I always feel this stupid pressure to wind up negative stuff with some neat little conclusion about how, even when times are hard, we can still make wonderful memories, or some other “inspirational” crap like that, but I think you all know by now that if it’s forced positivity you’re after, I’m not your girl. As I said in my post on why it’s OK not to enjoy every minute of parenthood (and, indeed, life…), not every moment is magical, and if we can’t admit that during a worldwide emergency, then we presumably NEVER can. Because I’m a miserable sod, though, I AM going to admit that, while we obviously did our best to make sure Max had a good day – and he most definitely did – this Easter was not magical for the adults in the house. Memorable, yes… just not for the reasons I’d have liked to remember it.)
So, week 4 of lockdown: it was the week my mum celebrated her birthday via FaceTime, the Prime Minister was admitted to hospital with Coronavirus, the UK’s daily death rate become the worst in Europe, and I learned how to fold all of our carrier bags into little triangles, for ease of storage. It was good and it was bad, but it was mostly a bit boring, really – which I suppose is something to be thankful for, under the circumstances.
Here’s a quick video of Max’s Easter Egg hunt: and if you feel like giving us a follow over on You Tube, you’ll be helping make our lockdown just a little bit brighter…