2020 was supposed to be a big year for us. Em, it was all about preschool for you, and you had so patiently waited for the year to start and were loving your new big girl days. Max, we spent our days together with Liv still so little that we could drag her anywhere with us, and it could just be about you and me. And Liv, it was your first trip around the sun, and ours as a family of 5. Our big trip to the US. We all had such big plans, and then this...
In all honesty, you three are so little you don’t know much about any of it, and most things about it seem to have you pretty excited. Nan has moved in with us, Dad isn’t quite as busy at work, we are spending our days at home, no rushing, no racing, we take Alfie on a long walk every single day, and with nowhere to be you are walking most of the way, climbing trees, walking along people’s front fences and searching for all the teddy bears in the windows.
Em, you know something is up. No preschool, no ballet or swimming lessons, no seeing your friends and family, and boy do you miss them. As you remind me daily, ‘everything is closed’ and you have a never ending list of things you want to do ‘when everything is un-closed’. This was going to be our first year apart, the first time I would drop you off at preschool and you would be without me all day. You were so ready and now you are stuck at home with my lack lustre craft expertise, but it’s ok, there is plenty of time for us to be apart. For now let’s just cherish that ‘extra’ time as best we can.
Max, you have grown up so much in these last few weeks. It’s hard to know whether this would have just happened anyway, or if all of this slowing down and time at home has really helped. You haven’t once asked to go anywhere, and apart from missing your friends you haven’t missed a beat. You have really destroyed Dad’s garden by using your trucks to dig up the grass and we have nicknamed you ‘dirt boy’, but isolation life suits you.
Livvy, my littlest love, you have probably enjoyed isolation life more than you would normal life. You haven’t been carted around from drop off to activity to the shops, you are having all your naps at home in your bed and on time, you haven’t caught a cold or anything from those grubby preschoolers and well, to you everything is ok as long as you are in Mum, Dad or Nan’s arms.
It’s fair to say Mum and Dad are slightly less in love with isolation life. Don’t get me wrong, we are LOVING this time with you and not having the pressure of a thousand other places to be, but by the time you are old enough to read this you will have realised Dad isn’t very good at relaxing. Fun, parties, activities, that’s his bag, but doing ‘nothing’ stresses him out. That, and as much as he pretends it doesn’t, the worry of what this all will mean for business – not only for us but for all the staff – makes him worry.
For me, it’s missing the village. I love the three of you more than anything but at times you can be A LOT! And not being able to see our family and friends has been really tough. Even though I have done it before, I didn’t realise how much tougher it is with a toddler and a baby without having your people around – the ones who drop coffee off after a rough night and give you 5 mins to shower, the ones who keep the toddler occupied and safe on a playdate so you can feed the baby, the ones who drink wine with you at the end of a long day and talk about when we used to be cool and not just running around after small people, the people that keep us going. That, and like most mothers, I worry for you about…well, everything! What if you catch it? What if you catch anything? Are you missing out on (insert basically any word here)? Am I protecting you enough? Am I doing enough?
One day when you ask me about all of this, I’ll tell you it was scary, but that you were brave. We stayed home just like we were asked to, and luckily we stayed safe. I’ll tell you that you missed your friends and family, but mostly you just enjoyed the extra cuddles and time at home. I’ll tell you that we were the lucky ones. Overseas it was much worse and lots of people died. Lots of people lost their jobs and it was much tougher for some, we really were the lucky ones.
Edit: Em, you have just finished your first day back at preschool. At drop off you ran into the arms of your teacher and never looked back. At pickup you told me you ‘had the best day, but missed us!’ and I told you we missed you too. Which we did, but boy, wasn’t it nice to feel a little bit of normality back.
Words: Amy Thomas