I’ve not blogged in over a year so please forgive me if this is not a smooth ride. And forgive me if it’s morose. And if there are any spelling mistakes.
So here we are living a strange life in a strange world. Covid19 is not something I imagined experiencing in my lifetime. As someone with an underlying health condition potentially I’m at risk. I feel scared of the struggle to breathe more than dying. In the mornings I feel strong enough to beat anything, as the day moves on less so, by evening I happily collapse in front of the telly…Just as my sons, arise from the crypt, recharged.
I’ll hear thudding beats from their speaker, feet stomping on the floorboards, drawers banging shut, caveman like bellows of “G!” one minute, giggling like hyenas the next.
They stride around in shorts, interrupt my programme to flex muscles in front of the mirror. Out comes the George Forman, gone goes food hygiene.
It’s Bananas in Pyjamas, but they’re 18 and 24.
Although I’m done-in by their evening ambush, I’m so grateful for this constant. To see life prevails. We’ve been together, in lock-down, for five weeks now and we’ve had mini melts, but are surprisingly up-beat. I think we’re glad to be alive and well. Waking-up each morning, we no longer take for granted. Our home, food, utilities have become luxuries. Never has the phrase ‘there’s always someone worse off’ rung truer.
I miss my girls enormously. We FaceTime but I want them on the sofa, us squashing together in front of Netflix, with a box of chocolates on our laps. I want to rub their feet and stroke their hair and simply be with them, doing nothing in particular, because just being together is enough.
I find myself standing in front on a family photo, my four children, hung on the hallway wall. They were between 2 and 11, and they were all mine. No work, no boyfriends or girlfriends just us.
The older generation tell you to enjoy your children – that the years flash by, but you don’t believe them, in fact you believe it’s a malicious taunt, because you are so busy cooking, washing, tidying that most days with young children are easily forty-eight hours long.
Of course, you want them to have friends, lovers, jobs, holidays – independent lives. You want them to leave home and build a nest of their own. It’s just, sometimes I’m coming downstairs, and I glimpse that family photo and fleetingly I’m in that moment, and when that moments fades, I feel a little sad, a little empty, a little lost.
Parenting is hard. You can read Mother and Baby till the cows come home but every mother is different, as is every child. You embark on this journey together: you and this tiny person…and you work really hard at not screwing up, which you repeatedly do, but you’re in it together, a team.
So, it’s hard when they move out. There’s advantages: like your eardrums have time to heal and you don’t need 6 mugs to make a coffee, it’s peaceful, my husband and I have more time together. But for the rest of my life I’m incomplete, not unhappy, not wanting the alternative, just I’ve spent twenty plus years with a human who came from my body. We’ve spent every day and night together, and now we don’t. It’s not something I’ve dwelled on…until this Corona Virus, because now…we really are apart. No kiss, hug, squeeze, pat, poke, high five, foot rub, hair detangle, leg wax, toenail painting.
And no matter how much we comfort each other with how marvellous FaceTime is, we know it’s not enough. That somehow, we must get through this horror and find ways to safely be with our loved ones.
Grace and Caitlan I miss you.