Monday, 22nd February 2021 (delayed posting!)
Well, here we are, on February 6th and in another National Lockdown, which began on a date I can't even remember, since the days and hours blur into one. The lethargy hangs over us like a thick fog, making nigh-every task feel heavy and suffocating. This is hard. Very, very hard. Harder, indeed, than the first lockdown. I've been trying to figure out why. And I've had some thoughts.
The first lockdown was something of a shock. I think we all felt slight heroism at staying in and somewhat rallied by Boris' call to 'stay home, save lives'. Seeing police on horseback gave this a certain gravity - especially where I live. It was so strange not to be able to go anywhere - apart from once a day for exercise - and to see empty buses and desolate, quiet roads. I remember waving to the bus drivers in the mornings, wondering how they were feeling on an empty bus. Probably quite relieved.
Then it dragged on, and on. And on. Some of us had high hopes for Christmas - to see family or even travel a bit. To go into someone's house, nay, for a cup of tea or mince pie. But these hopes were dashed just before the Day Itself and then it seemed to be blow after blow and a metaphorical death by a thousand cuts. We were under strict instructions not to do anything for New Year, but promised schools would stay open. Well, at least Primary Schools for sure. And from thereon we were drip fed the bad news: secondary schools would open a week or so late and if you lived in Tier 3 you moved to Tier 4. Then, one fateful Monday night, Lockdown and the closure of primary schools, thanks to a new strain of the virus. A Monday evening in January is bad enough without this.
Perhaps if the bad news had come at once, say at the end of November, it would have been easier to swallow. But lots of us were looking forward to some festive spirit and then, when that didn't happen, we toiled on, looking forward to the school term and the sound of Armageddon at home becoming a distant memory. I wonder if bad news should be dispensed all in one go after all, rather than the deflating sensation of one blow after another, one disappointment followed by another, bitterness heaped upon bitterness.
I've found this lockdown the hardest, personally, because I had such high hopes for this third trimester of pregnancy. I even drew up a list of key goals - only three. Oh and how the Universe laughed. The goals were to get more rest, get more paid help and to enjoy nesting, in undisturbed peace at home. Needless to say, having two small children and a husband at home, does not lead to either rest or tranquility. It leads to a switch of gears into 'SURVIVAL MODE', where you feel utter relief at 6pm, knowing you only have two hours to go till you can watch Downton Abbey and be alone, with your black and disappointed, embittered thoughts. Alone to wallow.
Along with resting, lockdown with littlies is also not conducive to 'nesting', which requires solitude and time, so that when you empty a drawer to organise it, the contents aren't flung around the room, nay the house itself, and the situation simply worse than before. It's enough of a job to keep peanut butter and Nutella off the walls and kitchen cupboards and to stop the spaghetti hoops (the eternal spaghetti hoops) from crusting onto the table several times a week. Any nesting beyond that is beyond me, that's for sure.
Finally, extra paid help or support is no longer a realistic luxury. Childminders are in high demand and short supply, cleaners have never been as busy since Covid began and extra support from family and friends has become rather illegal.
So these are my reasons for finding the latest lockdown the hardest of all. But I think for all of us it's the cumulative effect of being cooped up, either alone or with others, and unable to make small plans and things to look forward to. Never mind going on holiday to a beach in Spain, I'd just love to go to the pub across the road for a coffee with a friend - or my laptop.
Still, I suppose it has taught us all how to lessen our expectations... perhaps we will emerge from our claustraphobic cocoons better people.