It was beautiful. Like that scene in The Bridges of Madison County when Meryl’s family takes off out the gate and down the road. Alan took the gang to stay with his brother in Dublin to give me a full 24 hours on my own and it has been… like a spa, on a cloud, in a bubble.
It came in the nick of time.
Like so many, we have hardly had any separation in this house. A few hours on my birthday for a hike, bedtime, maybe a trip to the supermarket, walks with Paddy and that’s been it. It’s been all day, every day, all the time, full-on. Worldwide, it seems to me that there has been either very little space for rejuvenation or self – or too much space and a lot of loneliness. Covid is a time of intensity and it’s draining.
I have also started to see a trend developing whereby the Government announces some new ‘guidelines’ and I go all a bit Raa Raa Crazy. I suppose it’s because it reminds me that a global pandemic is serious, it’s not going away and I really miss interacting with and seeing my friends and family. This is a really dismal situation and every so often I go a bit do-lally about it. And I’m kind of glad I do. I’m human and I should feel all the emotions – that’s living. So the weather, feeling zero sense of space and self, the new guidelines (and don’t get me started on the Golf Dinner!) – it’s going to have an impact. Storm Ellen only added to my own perfect storm.
Acting weird for a day along with a few chats and messages with close friends and I’m pretty OK with it all again. That and Alan taking the mind, arm and heart cloggers away for a night. You know when you get a break and quickly realise that you were on the brink? When I lived on my own, closing that front door behind me after a day at work was always a happy moment. I find being on my own restorative. Now, as a parent, that kind of time and space just doesn’t happen because it gets filled up with minding and feeding and tidying-up and, and, and. That’s coming from a person who is at home specifically attempting to ‘slow-parent’ and do away with the idea that ‘busy’ is a badge of honour and what little time we have should be chopped into ‘me time’ and ‘us time’ and ‘quality time’ and ‘one-on-one time’… and yet even when you are doing you’re utmost to de-clutter your own and your family’s time and keep it simple, it still keeps passing. There will never be enough of it and we can’t hang onto it or make it. The best we can do is be in it. So I’m in this moment right now, writing about the time that I crave having to myself and with my loved ones and thinking about making a coffee because soon I’ll have to get to that job and my time will be gone.
So, both slowly and surprisingly quickly, time has brought us to ‘Back to School’. And in spite of what I’ve said about Covid generally draining the life out of me, I feel so optimistic that they’ll all go OK. The science and the experience so far shows that there is little contagion experienced between pupils and teachers. I think our teachers are super and they will do their best and that’s really as much as any civilian can possibly do.
My children need it – the eldest is going into seniors and my four year old will go to playschool for the first time.
When I brought them to a playground shortly after the play places opened up again, my daughter ran happily to the gate shouting back; ‘Don’t worry mammy, we won’t go near any other children’. That’s when the penny dropped! Covid 19 is an introvert’s dream. Both my children – and possibly the third – are in that very-content-at-home introverted boat. They’re not particularly shy and they really like their buddies but could very happily live in our small bubble and never ask about other children or about school or particularly want to anywhere. I know they’d be fine with that because I was the same. I’m discovering that being at home with my children has been important to me because it was where I always wanted to be when I was a child. It was comforting and a refuge and where I could have the time and space that I needed as a slightly more introverted person. Then, when I was more able for it, socialisation was something that I was able to take at my own pace until I got to be a person who loved play dates and knew, myself, when I needed time on my own so that my head didn’t explode. I loved playing with my friends and going to parties but never had a party of my own or joined the Brownies. Today, that’s called self-regulation.
Apparently 41% of us tend towards being introverts, but the world champions socialisation so that we can all be part of a tribe and think alike and be out keeping the economy going, so I’m glad everyone with more introverted tendencies has had a chance to nourish that side of themselves and learn that it’s incredibly powerful. I’m particularly glad for all the children who have had a chance to get to grips with their own being. And now that school is back maybe we’re all a little more ready for it?
OK. Time is ticking and there appears to be someone in a truck pulling in for directions…
Gotta run, X