As we inch towards a second national lockdown, whether imposed all as one or through separate areas going into the so called ‘Tier 3’, I have to say that my heart is heavy and I am filled with a certain amount of dread. I, along with so many others, am ready for this pandemic to be over. I’m ready to feel as though I can truly live my life again. I miss my family. I want to hug my parents and my sisters. I miss my friends. I want to go out and meet up in groups that aren’t restricted to six people. I want to celebrate the big special birthdays that are happening among our friendship group at the moment without impositions. I want to be there for people. I miss that company and social connection.
As I face the reality that this year is not suddenly going to take a turn for the better, a vaccine will not be ready before Christmas, and we are most likely to be facing a very uncertain and unsettling winter, I wanted to look back at my lockdown silver linings. The family time that my husband, our boys and I spent together. Despite what has turned out to be a pretty dismal year all round (I bet nobody had this on their five year plan), during the spring and early part of the summer 2020 there were several happy moments too.
For starters, my boys became so creative. They made stop motion videos with hundreds and hundreds of frames that slowly built up to create short films around five or six minutes in length. They were so entertaining and imaginative. The process took time and patience, something that came in abundance during those slower weeks and months. They wrote stories too, created comic books and put on plays. All three of them revelled in the opportunity to go for local walks, visiting places that we hadn’t been to for such a long time because a busy life passes by and we don’t spend that time exploring locally.
We loved snuggling up and having film nights, crashing out across the sofa and bean bags with popcorn. I watched a film in the hut with my middle son who loved chilling out under a parasol to keep the afternoon sun away from our eyes. We did other things too. We tie-dyed t-shirts in the back garden. We had an impromptu sports day in place of the one normally held at school. We, along with many others in the nation and around the world, woke up each morning, had our breakfast, and then put Joe Wicks on the television so that we could have a PE session in our living room. We baked – banana bread, courgette cake, chocolate orange cookies, dumplings. We made pizzas on the spur of the moment. I cooked stews and tried things I had never felt bold enough to attempt before, from onion bhajis to different types of pastry and bread. I can’t say that my cooking really improved, but the variety of what we were eating became more creative.
We read so much more together as a family too. After our morning burst of PE with Joe Wicks, we would sit down and I would read to the boys for about 20 minutes to half an hour every single day. We got through so many books. We fell in love with new stories and adventures and discovered new authors. We explored unknown lands through the words of others, which then led to fabulous conversations, pictures and paintings.
I have a fully stocked craft box which includes science resources that are rarely touched outside of the summer holidays. We got it out almost every day during lockdown. Junk modelling, painting with oil pastels or watercolours, creating small electrical circuits and learning about photosensitive paper.
We collectively worked really hard on our home and garden. We had bought a pond liner at the beginning of the year, and the Easter weekend saw an opportunity for us to put it in our wildlife area. We filled it with rainwater and later added a few pond plants and it is now bustling with life. In the later stages of lockdown, when garden centres reopened, we planted more trees. Between our front and back gardens we have planted one tree per human member of our family. We planted borders with shrubs and we put bulbs in the ground too. We’ve grown a lot of our own food: peppers; tomatoes (kindly gifted to us by our lovely neighbours and my mother in law); pumpkins; courgettes; and green beans. We’ve done some redecorating inside, and made lots of plans for future work too.
We’ve been around the world on a virtual tour. Watching David Attenborough as he navigated us through the seven worlds on our one wonderful planet. We’ve read together about different countries, flags, histories and cultures. We looked at the migration of early man and several different timelines of all sorts of creations and inventions. We learned a lot together as a family, listening to each other and sharing ideas. I couldn’t emulate the classrooms that had been left behind through lockdown, but together we tried our best to learn and bring some positivity into each and every day. The boys drew pictures for family and friends who we were separated from and sent them off in the post, hoping to bring a smile to the faces of those who are dear to us all too.
I, and I’m sure many others, have no interest in having a second lockdown. Looking back though, I know that we have got through it once, and not only through it but that we flourished within it. I hope that if (and surely now when) the winter brings more of the same, we can face it with a similar amount of determination, creativity and energy.
How did lockdown affect you? I know that everyone had a very different experience and I’m intrigued to hear yours. Let me know in the comments below!