I got some idea of how much tension and pressure has been put on the whole family during lockdown today. We all went round to the in-laws for a barbecue and the change of scene and more importantly the addition of extra people was an unbelievable tonic for both kids and parents.
They got to interact for a few hours with other people and we got to sit down and read, or snooze or look at our phones, knowing that someone else was there to keep an eye on what was going on and someone else was cooking too. We’d been at the point of collapse from tiredness this weekend, but when we left we felt like we’d been at a spa. It was such a tiny thing and yet it made such a huge difference to all of our spirits.
It’s all been head down and get on with it since March and we haven’t even had time to think about the mental effects this is having on us all, especially the kids. I had taken for granted the assistance we’d got and though we’ve got through it and the kids have adapted to only having each other and us as playmates. Of course they’re sick of us and of course just having a different (and admittedly much bigger) garden and other people and different toys - it was a huge tonic for them too. Especially Ernie, as Phoebe has had a little bit of time at school at least.
Our lockdown experience has beed idyllic compared to most, I am sure and in many ways very enjoyable. But just reading the newspaper and closing my eyes for ten minutes on a sofa (until my son ran and shouted and laughed at me because it wasn’t night time) felt like the most extraordinary luxury. My brain started to wake up, I started making plans, thought about getting fit and reading books and living rather than just existing…
As long as we don’t all fuck it up and create a second wave (I am fairly confident that we will fuck it up) then hopefully things will slightly ease off and we can dream about letting the kids stay over with their grandparents and having the energy and time to create new projects and work effectively and exercise.
I’m proud with the way that the family has coped though this time. It’s not always been easy, but it has not been as difficult or fraught as I imagined it might be. But today, in escaping our lovely prison for a few hours, I realised that it had battered us all a bit.