And so the sun sets on our second week of lockdown. These strange days compel me to write and record and take notice as the days blur into one and we relive the same routine over and over again.
We’ve mainly ridden out the rollercoaster of these two weeks, which have felt long and short all at the same time. Ah time, that timey whimey thing which swirls and whirls and leaves us confused as how it’s half way through January and also why is January taking so long to get on with it?
We have settled into lockdown routine pt 2, a few tweaks here and there from last spring. Mostly for the good. Husbandface has his walk, I have my walk, he spends time with the boys first thing to attempt some school work, I take them for walks/watch Deadly 60 with them (we are fast amassing amazing facts about a whole load of animals and have come up with our own tv show of Non Deadly 60, featuring a cup of tea or a fluffy teddy…). We amble through the mornings depending on the weather and mainly I tidy things around the boys whilst they do lego or drawing or piano playing or endless games. I am good at tidying, they create constant mess and I like the soothing nature of putting things back where they came from, I like the slow time to do it, the sense of the illusion of control it gives me.
The afternoons hold audio books, the sacred wonder of quiet time where I get to sleep and they listen. The Green Ember series has been a joy for them in these last two weeks. Then it’s film afternoon because, well, it’s winter, why not? Somedays we go into the garden after to get the screen time wiggles out, sometimes we just fight until dinner time. Then it’s bedtime and endless bargaining of how many chapters can be read before the youngest will concede it’s time for sleep. He’s regressed in his confidence and each night I sit in our spare room so he knows someone is near and can drift off to sleep. I don’t mind. I sit with the eldest, both of us with heads in books, both of us drifting into other worlds and times to escape these days.
An hour or so of TV with the husbandface follows. We give Schitts Creek a go so we can watch something other than Bones. We cry through ‘This is Us’ every Thursday night and we occasionally ponder staying up late enough to watch a film. Most nights tiredness gets us and we stumble to bed soon after 9 to listen to podcasts and fall asleep waiting for 5.30 to hit and for the youngest to wake up with his questions of ‘what will we do today?’ I refer him to the above and we go downstairs to read books and I drink coffee, walk and live this day again.
Food marks the changes of the days, more sugar at weekends, fudge made and distributed to friends in the local area, blondies put in the oven to delight us all, different breakfasts pronounce it’s Saturday. Sunday has to be different because it’s church in the morning and I run an after church zoom catch up session. We all struggle with the change in routine but also like it because something at least is different.
During the day I fit in some hours to work, to walk with people, to plan and talk to my colleagues, I was furloughed for half my hours this week and am delighting in the guilt being taken off my shoulders, grateful not to have to worry about where to fit in the rest of my work. My body is grateful for slow afternoons to read and reflect. My body is not well, I am relearning good breathing, my back aches and aches and I suspect it’s stress and tension and book an appointment with an Osteopath to see what magic they might be able to work.
I have read, memoirs seem to be my book of choice at the moment, I loved Dara McNaulty’s excellent Nature diary and ache for the Mourne Mountains and our Irish family. It’s been far too long since we went over there. I plan trips in my head for the summer, surely we can make it over there this summer? I read Wild Silence, the follow up to The Salt Path, I search houses in Cornwall aching for different surroundings and then I walk our neighbourhood and remember again all the people we love in these streets and remember that we are home here, rooted. I remember we have a National Park two minutes walk from our doorstep. I remember we live in nature. We are ok here and now.
I notice shoots, I tell husbandface about them again and again until he mocks my repetitions. I tell him because I need to tell myself. Spring is coming. Hope is built into this world as the seasons change and turn.
I show up to my Spiritual Direction course each Wednesday night delighted by the chance to see different people, to interact beyond Brighton, beyond our world through the wonders of a screen. I fight tiredness. I try to stay aware, in the room and I taste the touch of God reminding me that I am loved, held, known, seen.
I notice the joys, the combination of tea, clementine and fudge on my tastebuds. The murmuration of starlings which swirl around our hills. The insanely wonderful frosty weekend we had last week which brought joy and ease to getting the boys out of the house. I soak in the cuddles I am attacked with each moment of the day.
I notice the sadness in my boys, the unsettled moods, the angst, the body of the eldest which aches in strange places and bears the mark of anxiety in his days. I notice the frustration, the desire to see friends, the huge emotions which take over them. I hug them close, I rage at them and then we cuddle hard to repair relationship, all of us confused at the storms our emotions bring. I gaze at their faces, whilst trying to cope with this love in me which is desperate to protect and provide safety for them. I wonder at the fierceness of this love. I wonder at how brilliant and how brutal this parenting thing is.
I listen to music, I try to soothe my soul. I breathe deep from my stomach and not from my chest. I stop scrolling through news, I take a step back, I make the most of the moments I want to reach out to friends and I breathe through the moments I want to hide until all this is over. I notice the desire to compare, to feel bad about what we are ‘achieving’. I wait until it settles down and keep on walking through the days.
It’s Friday. Beer is in the fridge, takeout will be ordered soon. It is Friday. The weeks roll on. The days go by and I desire to stay in the place of awareness. Aware of the joys, aware of my huge feelings, aware of the ups and downs, aware.
How’s it for you, in your boat, in your part of the storm?