It comes in waves

15 May 2020

We've been in lockdown for eight weeks now, which has managed to whizz by in the blink of an eye whilst feeling like forever and a day has passed. It's been nearly nine weeks since we saw family properly, two months since Willow was last at playgroup with her friends. Yesterday, my youngest brother turned 21 and we couldn't be there to celebrate with him.
A picture of a young girl walking through English woodland
The overwhelm comes in waves. Most days, I feel fine. I'm enjoying time at home having to do very little, having my little family safe and happy together. I like that I don't have to worry about work, whilst simultaneously missing the routine that work brings. I like having Martyn home, being able to spend so much time with his family when usually he'd be out at work, this is a time I am grateful for, although wishing it wasn't due to a global pandemic.
But then I start to think about everything else.

I think about how we are desperately missing my dad, who is usually here most days, who our girls adore and ask for all the time. I think about how much I know all the girls' families on both sides are missing them so much, and whilst video calls and Zoom help, it's just not the same as seeing them properly. I think about how much time Willow has missed with her playgroup friends, how much I am missing my own friends, and how much I wish I could just have a cuppa with the people we love the most.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how angry I am because people are being utterly selfish thinking lockdown rules don't apply to them. You go for your 'daily exercise' and see people just stopping and chatting in the street. You go into supermarkets or corner shops and no one keeps their distance. I've seen people gleefully sharing dinner dates and nights in with people most definitely not a part of their household. People going against lockdown guidelines, it makes me furious; why do you get to see your friends but I can't see my family? Why are you exempt from catching the virus, or from any of the rules meant to protect us?
But mostly, I'm overwhelmed the most when I think about Willow and playgroup and starting school. I'm now in contact with her primary school after she was lucky to get her first choice school last month - but she hasn't said goodbye to her playgroup friends or been on the playgroup trip to the zoo, or had the playgroup leaving party.

As someone who needs closure to move on from any given situation, my heart hurts when I think about the way she was pulled out of playgroup with no warning, no chance to say goodbye to her friends. And I can never give that back to her. I can't slow down her ageing or pause life, so she can experience things that she deserves to enjoy before starting school.

She won't meet her new teachers before starting school, she won't get any of the prep that playgroup would have done to help her transition from playgroup to primary school, we have no idea what we need to do to help her make that transition. She might have to start her primary school education having to wear face masks, not being allowed to play with her new friends properly, or even sit in a normal classroom. Can you even imagine how terrifying that is going to be for any child, let alone a 4-year-old starting big school for the first time?

I'm angry. I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm so very overwhelmed.

But I know tomorrow I'll be happy and smiling, and wishing I could have more time with my family.

The overwhelm comes in waves.