Admittedly, I’ve had moments when I have wished we could just skip past 2020; return it back to the shop or turn it off and turn it on again.
But once the initial grumbles and horror over the behavior of the panic buyers subsided, a certain acceptance and sense of stoic duty washed over (most of) us. It seems as though the tide has truly turned on the perception of this unprecedented set of circumstances.
Because just as Noah and his Arc rode on the vast flood waters to make way for a better time, it really feels as though this nightmare scenario of being apart from those we love is a message to be better to one another, to take a step back, and to take pride and gratitude in everything that surrounds us.
Choosing a primary school was a game of russian roulette which we left up to fate to decide. In truth I’ve neither been overwhelmed or underwhelmed with the girls school… it’s always been fine. It is huge, like ginormous and the polar opposite of the one class village school but I’ve always told myself that will put them in good stead for later life (whilst swearing under my breath about the lack of parking and chaos at any PTA event).
2020 however will always be the year that I fell head over heels in love with our primary school. From the heartfelt letter the head sent to the children on their last day, to the constant fun and social updates they have pulle dout of the bag on facebook to keep the ‘family’ spirit alive.
No pressure to do school work, and lots of love and encouragement to both parents and children to just be together and do what you can; to steal their words, the school is not the bricks and buildings, it is each one of us, wherever we are. What incredible values to instill into our children; the best lesson of all.
Obviously every individual family has their own story to tell, and I can only talk of my own.
Having just returned back to work 11 months ago, it occurred to me as the pandemic panic set in that this may mean a short lived career. Surely I would have to resign and prioritise the family once more.
Having slept on it and talked it through with my boss, I felt humbled and reassured that any organisation worth working for would be on my side, helping me to make it work every step of the way.
My children sitting on my knee and showing my colleagues their craft projects, saying hi to them through my headsets and occasionally pulling me away from my desk to break up actual physical fights, has not been a problem, and I have been overwhelmingly grateful.
I kinda knew I had landed a job for an incredible company, but seeing their efforts in supporting their workforce, national charities and the local NHS hospital with protective equipment from our labs, makes me gush with pride to be part of it.
Like all families we have had our bumps in the road, but there ain’t nothing like a global pandemic to make you wake up and smell the coffee.
We may not be together physically, but through the power of modern technology, we have never been closer.
Offers to help with shopping, to read the kids a bedtime story, to teach them a online lesson (geography not manners), to have a game of Plants vs Zombies (PS4) or just to catch up and have a natter. We will get through this, and we will get through it together.
I only have to stop and look at my own children to take some life changing lessons in all of this. Their smiles and genuine joy amidst this difficult situation has been a wake up call to realise exactly what they need to feel safe, content and stable.
It’s us. That is all.
I’ve never been into politics really, and I am a bit of a lemming when it comes to views on politicians – way too easily swayed by the persuasive power of someone who talks a good game.
I’m going to, for once, stand on my own two feet, pull up my big girl pants and have my own opinion.
I think Boris and co are doing a pretty good job. I feel informed, valued, on board and important. I know my small role in this story, and I am committed to playing my part.
Perhaps this united front in politcs, the life or death stuff is just more my cup of tea than the normal bitching… but BJ has a stoic sense of Churchill about him that I never expected to see. Fair play Boris, and get well soon.
The National Health Service
What I learnt this weekend, is that whilst in your bubble drawing rainbows and having water fights, there is nothing that will bring you back to reality like a chat with an NHS worker.
Because my god, you won’t moan about the kids driving you crazy again (they’d give anything to be at home with their kids), you won’t question whether the pandemic really is as bad as they are saying it is (it is) and you will feel utterly humbled by the effort to keep our nation safe, well and ticking over.
It’s hard to even know how to express your awe and gratitude to those people. Going into the flames every day and returning home to their loved ones exhausted, emotional and desperate to get out of those clothes; to wash off every chance of bringing in the virus to their homes.
That is the reality of what thousands of people are doing every day, and for that we are so bloody proud.
And I promise to never moan about having to wait for an appointment ever again. Honest.
Sure, there are still some twats who just don’t get it. (It’s pretty easy…. STAY HOME). But the vast majority of people who are keeping to the guidelines are finding ways to reach each other and to help each other are just blowing my mind.
Rainbows and smiles, singing and waving, online quizzes and 84 year olds face timing. Charity, volunteering, community, camaraderie… it was there all along. We just had forgotten how to use it.
And of course whilst the NHS are being heralded as our rightful heroes, it’s made every single role shine for the valuable cog in the wheel that it is. Teachers, dinner ladies, checkout assistants, delivery drivers, farmers, manufacturers, childcare providers, scientists, police…. the list goes on, and on, and on.
People really are awesome, and if this really is our time to make a difference, to have a story to tell, then let’s make it count, let’s continue to make them proud.