Monday, May 25, 2020

lock down (birthday edition)

Day 60, officially. Plus 11 for our household.

Totally laughable now that we thought we'd be done in 21 days. And what did we think 'done' looked like anyway?

Looking back, it's gone by quite quickly. As with raising small children, the hours drag but the days fly.
We've done all the same things everyone else in the world has done - vacillated between comfort and despair at pretty regular intervals.

Currently we've hit a bit of ennui...
Our 'lockdown diary', started with enthusiasm, is kicking around under piles of home-school materials and half-finished art projects. The school work we do is the barest minimum. We get out to take advantage of our 'exercise slot' (6 to 9am) at best three times a week. The kitchen is kept tidy, the bathrooms seen to once a week and high-traffic areas swept (and sometimes mopped) fairly regularly, but everything else is a bit murky and dusty.

There are a lot of screens in rotation, and there's been a LOT of the accompanying parental guilt about this. But a few things happened last week which changed my mindset about this a bit.
I had a chat with my sister-in-law in which she reminded me that my kids are not smallies any longer, and as the first generation to have access to this much online content who can really say at this point what the long-term effects will be? The convo got me thinking about my brother, a die-hard gamer and tech enthusiast, who is also possibly the brightest person I know.
Then this lovely poem by Hollie McNish.
And finally a rollercoaster ride, built entirely in Minecraft by my 10 yr old daughter, specially for me as a birthday present last week.
Encompassing an underground tunnel, a section through a glass-walled aquarium filled with fish and colourful plants, an LGBTIQ+ rainbow-walled section, the world's highest rollercoaster hill and a field of llamas I have to say it was one of the best experiences I've ever been gifted. It took her best part of two days and was all self-conceptualised.
The kids are alright.

And yes, it was my birthday. Lockdown birthday club whoop whoop.

Leading up to it I was apprehensive, thinking that maybe the reason we have birthday celebrations is to distract ourselves from the march of time, to literally sing and dance in the face of aging-related existential dread.
Nothing like reaching proper middle age in time of global pandemic to bring out all the anxieties.

But there was also a freedom in not being able to do anything special. No need to clean and polish the house for guests, no juggle to find an activity which suits all ages, schedules and budgets. No expectation of looking ones best or being goddamn cheerful.

And, as always with birthdays - lucky me - it was lovely. Turns out the essential elements - love, cake, friends - were still there, albeit very differently to in the past.
Love shown in small gestures and large, cake baked by me (red velvet) and more delivered by friends (chocolate, lemon drizzle, super decadent choc fudge biscuits - 'We have a cake BUFFET' my daughter declared the next day), friends who spontaneously arrived for a very socially-distanced glass of wine in our front driveway, perched on small fold-out chairs in the gathering gloom... giggles and commiserations.
Fortyfuckin'five is not too old to be reminded that we endure beyond viruses and screens and parental guilt and dusty floors.
Life it seems, carries on.