So, a thing happened…you might have noticed…The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the world beyond all recognition. The world is still reeling from the effects of this virus, which seems to be incredibly infectious and can be fatal to so many people. Each country is making its own attempts to balance the safety of its residents and trying to save its economy. I’m really not the sort of blogger to get into a political debate about who is doing what and if it is right or wrong so let’s just say that isn’t an easy task and leave that discussion for another day and another blogger!
I started writing a version of this blog when we had been in lockdown for 9 weeks but I didn’t finish it. I didn’t feel like I was saying anything that different from everyone else so I stopped. As it was for many people, the biggest challenge has been a mental one. I quite liked the slower pace, not rushing around, filling our weekends with activities and classes for the kids. I quite liked having so much more time with the kids without those distractions. I also really liked having Hubby around to talk to during the day.
However, the kids were also here ALL THE TIME and that was draining not to have any down time or time to be ‘Jenny’ instead of ‘Mummy’. I’m also no teacher so doing the distance learning thing with my Kindergartner was intense. I’m well aware that this is a downright difficult situation for a 5 year old to understand so I didn’t push her on the days that she was obviously not in the mood for school work. There were definitely days we ditched it to cuddle up on the couch with popcorn and a movie.
That was 6 weeks ago though and now there are much bigger differences in what everyone is experiencing. Back home in Scotland, the virus seems to be almost under control but they have been in strict lockdown for a considerable amount of time. They are slowly starting to open up and hopefully can contain the virus as they do so.
In the US, the situation varies wildly from state to state. Some states opened up quite quickly, many of which are now seeing a big increase in the number of new cases. In Pennsylvania, we were on strict lockdown for quite a while and there has then been a gradual reopening.
At first I found that reopening difficult and I wasn’t quite ready to be able to go into shops (with masks) and meet up with people again. We had kind of made this safe little bubble for our family and I was reluctant to burst that bubble too soon. We took it very gradually and started going to parks again to let the kids run free. It was wonderful to see how excited they were about running around an empty field – long gone are the days of expecting weekends filled with activities and day trips!
It is also been tricky at times to negotiate different levels of comfort with socialising. We were being cautious, some may say overly so, and were taking our reintegration into society fairly slowly. Others were more keen to make the most of the places being reopened within the state and that meant a little negotiating to find a way to meet up that everyone was comfortable with. Each family has to decide for themselves what they are willing to do based on their own situations and the guidance from the medical experts.
We were just getting to a point where we starting to feel like we had a new normal we could live with. We had started going to the park and playground with the kids (and plenty of handwashing after!). We had started going to shops (with masks) a bit more regularly and had even started socialising with friends, outside of course. I have tried to maintain social distancing as much as possible but it is much harder once you have more than 3 or 4 people and in bigger groups I have definitely felt less comfortable.
Anyway, we had started to adjust to this new normal and Wee Face (our son) had returned to preschool 3 days a week. We were even thinking about going away for a couple of nights next month for my birthday and working out how we could best do that safely. I had adjusted to the fact that my best friend and her family wouldn’t be here for their first visit in July and I was preparing myself for the likely cancellation of my in-law’s visit in August. I found myself feeling much more normal and had very few periods of feeling low and overwhelmed.
Then my husband was issued with new orders, well not just him, everyone in the US Navy Fleet. Basically, in efforts to protect sea-going sailors and control the spread of the virus within the Naval community, the orders are basically that we have to stay home again. He (and it is also ‘recommended’ for the rest of the family) should only be leaving the house for essentials like food, medical needs, gas/petrol etc. It feels like a massive step backwards and it has really thrown me for a loop when the rest of the state is reopening.
Almost immediately I found myself feeling down again and overwhelmed by the situation we find ourselves in. There isn’t a set date for this to end either, it is just for the foreseeable future until the risk of COVID-19 improves in our area. It has knock-on effects for the few fun things we had on the horizon to look forward to and it’s making me a bit teary. We won’t be going away next month and we are now trying to think of creative ways to make my and my daughter’s birthdays (both July) fun without being able to do day trips or have a party in any normal sense of the word.
I really feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us again and it’s frustrating because I didn’t see it coming! This time it might even seem more difficult than the first time we went into lockdown because this time most of our friends and family aren’t in the same boat, if you’ll pardon the pun, since they don’t work for the Navy. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know we are part of a lovely International Military community here but the majority of them are Army or Air Force and, as far as we know, don’t have the same orders.
I am really happy for the friends and family I see on social media who are getting to see their loved ones for the first time in months and are getting to visit fun places once again, albeit with masks or other restrictions. They have paid their dues and fully deserve some hugs again! I wouldn’t deny them that, however, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also a wee bit (big bit) jealous of their freedom!
The kids have been great throughout and I wonder what they will remember about this time… I really hope that they remember getting to spend lots of time with us and each other, along with the fun games and fresh air they’ve had. Hubby and I have a different experience but I don’t want the weight of what we are carrying on their tiny little shoulders.
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