Mama OWL Blog: Lockdown Diaries - April

Lockdown Diaries - April

Monday, 5 October 2020

I was so happy when the Easter holidays rolled around. We decided to follow the school calendar and timetable to keep things as stable as possible but things were still difficult. Our eldest's planned trip home from university in Derby was cancelled because we could not travel, and she was also still working because she was a keyworker - we hadn't seen her since February and then had the added worry of her being exposed to the virus at work, all while she was studying in the final weeks of her degree. We did not get to spend Easter with her, and she missed her sister's 10th birthday which was really hard for her. The rest of us spent Easter weekend together with a traditional egg hunt around the garden and a roast dinner, to be honest after March the days all just sort of rolled into one so it was important to me to make it as special for them as I could.

E was kept busy with gymnastics challenges set by her club to carry out at home to help pass the time. The kids spent a lot of their time out in the garden, particularly H & E as they worked together to keep up their fitness routines for rugby and gymnastics - E enjoyed putting H through his paces with some strength and conditioning, and H had E to help practice passing (or he was just throwing the ball at her I'm not 100% sure which - maybe both). We reached peak lockdown when we started baking banana bread, and E and H had both made some really tasty cakes, muffins and brownies in the weeks we had been at home.

H gave us a real worry one night with a grumbling appendix for a second time just after the Easter break ended. We narrowly avoided a hospital trip but we did need a visit from the ambulance service to give him the once over after calling 111. It was a rough night for him, he was very poorly but by morning he was feeling better. He spent the next day on the sofa with his laptop and watching BBC Bitesize because I am mean like that and made him do his schoolwork since he was working from home anyway. He was waited on hand and foot all day so don't feel too sorry for him.

I was worried about E's birthday. A lockdown birthday was less than ideal and when you're 10 all you want is to have your friends around for sleepovers, and to have fun and be silly and laugh. Sadly, she was stuck with just us for the day, but wonderful friends and some family members pulled out all of the stops to make sure she didn't feel forgotten. Before lockdown started I had anticipated what was coming, and bought a helium tank and some balloons which I hid away ready for the big day. She was not waking up to an empty living room and no celebration.

I was sent lots of lovely video messages which I compiled in to one and played it to her in the morning when she woke up. People mailed gifts, and dropped them off on our doorstep. Twitter was doing what it does best and everyone was joining in with an Amazon gifting spree - I added a wishlist for her and explained it was her birthday, and she was gifted books and nail polish and stationery by complete strangers who wanted to help make sure a little girl had a special day during some horrible times. She received some fantastic cards and pictures drawn for her by the children of friends including a beautiful card with a hand drawn gymnast on it, by the very talented teenage daughter of a friend. We had a special birthday breakfast of pancakes and any toppings she wanted, and in the evening we made our own cinema in the living room with lots of snacks and sweets. It wasn't the birthday celebration we wanted, but we had a great time at home together & it was certainly one to remember.

By the end of April I was feeling pretty mentally fatigued. The break from home learning over Easter did us all good but for me, I just wanted to know what was happening, what was coming next - as did we all. I think it's important to tell you that I have found this hard. One evening I walked out of my house and just wandered around my town, having a quiet sob into my cardigan cuffs before I made my way home in the dark. I missed my friends, and my job, and my family. I still do, because none of this is normal nor is it anything that any of us have experienced before and it is perfectly okay to admit that it is affecting us and we are finding things a challenge, so if anyone wants a chat my comments are always open (and anonymous if you wish). Please don't ever feel alone.

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