Thursday, December 31, 2020

careful what you wish for

 I will not let this year turn without a final word here. But where to start?

I don't feel I've done enough to document it - as in, historically. So fundamental an experience will no doubt require much reflection, stories for the rest of our lives. I'd really like to have a timeline of events to reference back to. Time itself has had such a weird quality - no real benchmarks or junctures, just the Long Weirdness ...

There were important dates - the WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on Stella's 10th birthday.

Frieda was the first grade back at school, 1 June. She was also the first of us (and to date, the only) to have a Covid test, in mid November - negative.

Stella went back 6 weeks later, on Charl's birthday. in July. We joked that a morning home with no kids was the best gift ever ha ha.

Who can remember the day we got 'released' from hard lockdown and allowed to exercise outside the home, for a mere 3 hours from 6am (still in total darkness) to 9am, the streets around our house packed with grumpy and nervous people, no one making eye contact.

Our first legal walk at the beach in the middle of the day (still unclear if we were allowed ON the sand).

My birthday 'party' of 4, sitting on camp stools far apart in our driveway, drinking revolting black market wine and getting a big fright when we thought we'd missed the 8pm curfew - we hadn't.

Distributing rolling tobacco illegally for a friend, one of her customers a hairdresser, working under cover. Smuggling wine wrapped up in our overnight bags all the way to Calitzdorp when we were allowed to travel again, but booze was still verboten.

That disastrous 'girls weekend' in Calitzdorp which we thought would be our salvation and was instead a comic tragedy.

A weekend in the Cederberg with my parents which literally saved our souls, and our relationship with one another.

And inspired by that newfound feeling of adventuring together, a sneaky spontaneous 8 day holiday through some beautiful country, to visit with elephants and find all the inspiration, optimism and peaceful transience we'd been missing for so many months.

Then just a few weeks ago, as the dreaded Second Wave rose up in the background, a careful but joyous and largely outdoor few days away with friends - the mountains and river and company a balm to our exhausted, end of year (x1000 like all things 2020) hearts and bodies.

Christmas spent alone - just like last year when we thought the concept so novel and cute - my parents in isolation after possible exposure (it seems they've luckily dodged it), brothers scattered to family bubbles not our own.

But we got kittens! A long-awaited request from the girls, a source of some anxiety for me, an ongoing slow introduction to the dogs continues... but how completely impossible is it to feel gloomy in the company of kittens? We LOVE them.

Now we're back in lockdown. Two weeks from today of no alcohol sales, 9pm curfew, no gatherings, and worst of all - no beaches. No beaches, no rivers, no parks and no waterways. No knowing if two weeks means two weeks or more weeks or... no one knows.

But I do know one thing, after this heinous and deeply weird year, I am so proud of my lockdown crew. Consistently we've amazed each other with our resilience and perseverance. We've laughed, and kept the home fires burning and remained, mostly, loving and kind. We've allowed each other space to have our moments - to be weaker or stronger - to wallow in sadness or frivolous hysteria. I'm proud of us.

At the beginning of this year we said we wanted to spend lots of time with the girls. To that I say, careful what you wish for.

Please, no one let me write a post like this for 2021 okay?