Coming together when we’re far apart #Coronavirus 2020

If I think back to last week, or the week before, it’s hard to quite get my head around how much has changed in such a short space of time thanks to a tiny micororganism called Coronavirus.

Back at the end of February, when we celebrated Tigs’ birthday, or even just a few weeks back when one of my girl mates and I grabbed a Friday night curry, Coronavirus was something going on there, not here. It barely got a mention, despite the warnings of what could come, it just didn’t really seem possible.

But ultimately, this time, the news has transpired to a reality on our doorstep. It has impacted our everyday lives and seen some draconian measures which many have likened to wartime.

I have to say though, as I lunched in the garden watching the girls play in the sunshine, I pondered that this is hardly world war two.

None the less, these are hard times for our snowflake generation; one who have been accustomed to having what we want, when we want it. It has undoubtedly been a harsh lesson in appreciating our freedom, questioning our consumption, respecting our health, and needing our loved ones.

For a family of four like us, it’s a test of resilience in surviving without respite; in juggling many facets of life, paths which previously would never cross. Because god forbid would I ever consider dialling in to conference call with to kids sandwiched either side of me, nor would I pop my headset on the Mouse and let her say hi to my entire team. But these are unusual times, and we are all doing what we can to get through, and to support each other.

But in all honesty, as I have reminded myself over and over, I am so lucky to be locked in with the people I love most, in a home I feel safe, with everything I need and more.

It has been more prevalent than ever to feel for others whose situation may not call for them to be complaining about the juggle of work and kids. We all know of others who have lost their jobs, or who live alone and will be extremely isolated over the coming weeks, or even months. That is something I find hard to both imagine and bear, given the guidelines that are being imposed on us for the greater good.

And yet, through the adversity, humanity is shining through.

In the past week, the love and support in our community has floored me, moved me to tears, and reminded me all the reasons why it is amazing to be alive.

As the entire nation offered a standing ovation to the NHS last night, and the boats on the river sounded their horns through the damp dark spring night air, there was a sense of solidarity and compassion that we had only ever read about in our history books.

Let’s hope that as this pandemic passes by, the respect and admiration for our NHS care workers continues, as perhaps it should have always done so before.

The primary school which so many of us parents love to heckle and moan about, has been nothing short of amazing, seeking new and novel ways to reach out to the children and parents, reassuring them all every step of the way and reminding them of the family in which we all belong. As the kids said goodbye to each other a letter from the head instilled into us all that it is not the building which makes our school, but the sense of belonging inside all of us.

As the rising panic increased a week or so ago, and the reality dawned that lock down was on the horizon, schools were shutting and work forces were redeploying to home, employers rose to the challenge, set up IT systems and enabled critical business tasks to move forward in uncharted territory. My own personal experience is of overwhelm at how caring and compassionate my employer has been, implementing special leave for carers of dependent and all forms of support and community.

Of course, the person who makes our entire unit function, our childminder, has not been so lucky. As a self employed childcare provider, her doors too had to close and her salary with it. It felt only too natural to us that all the while we were being paid our full salary, that we owe a duty of care to her, and so came to an arrangement to continue to offer her a retainer fee.

Friends, family, small businesses, despite being under the realms of social distancing have never seemed so close. Never have my phone notifications been going off the hook as now, and never have so many of us checked in on each other.

Last week a group of friends celebrated a birthday together, over drinks, in party wear, laughing non stop as always, through the medium of a group video call from our homes.

Skype, whatsapp, facetime, zoom, houseparty…never did we know so many mediums of communication existed… and I’m already feeling the need to revert to a good old fashioned phone call… you know, the ones where the other caller didn’t get distracted and start talking to someone else whilst you are still gawping at them from the other end of the lens.

Neighbours offering to get bits from the shops, friends dropping in stuff for the kids, sharing resources for school work, kind gestures both small and grand. They are everywhere; you don’t have to look far to find the tales of love and kindness, and people at their very best.

The fighting spirit in business has been phenomenal – whilst some see defeat, others have seen an opportunity to diversify, explore new technologies and whilst some doors have closed, others have certainly opened.

The government, who we all love to hate, have stood strong in a time we needed to hear their words. We have all felt informed and engaged, and the financial support promised is unbelievable, if a little bewildering. I mean just where is all this money coming from?

The impact of Coronavirus on our lives goes far beyond the kids driving us mad while we are trying to concentrate. It will leave a ripple on our generation and beyond and we cannot even begin to comprehend how we recover from the damage this virus has caused on our infrastructure.

But one thing I hope stays with us, and that is that when we all needed each other, we were here.

Let us always keep it that way.


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