Global hysteria, a sweeping sadness, and lengthy queues outside Sainsbury’s… There isn’t much that we can thank Coronavirus for. On top of the harrowing sorrow and worry that arrived rather abruptly hand-in-hand with the outbreak, the impracticalities of the whole situation are also rendering us all to despair.
In spite of all of the darkness, some illuminating glimmers of hope and happiness have been brought to light in the media, and indeed on our own doorsteps. At times like these, even the simplest of gestures stirs emotion and gratitude. We’ve all proudly watched as Captain Tom defines the Great British spirit. We’ve done our bit for our local communities by plastering our windows with beautiful rainbows and leaving kind messages of inspiration for our wonderful everyday heroes, from posties to binmen.
But what about the impact all of this has had on our own households and family units?
With the daily news and media flooded by heartbreaking stories, we have all had time to reflect on how fortunate we are to still have our families around us, safe and well.
The crisis has shown us all that actually, despite what we might sometimes think, there really is nothing more important than the health of ourselves and our loved ones.
None of us are used to spending every minute of every hour of every single day with our families, spouses and children. Being confined to the four walls of our homes can be boring for any of us, let alone to our children and young people, who may not fully understand why they are suddenly being prevented from carrying out their usual routines and seeing their friends.
In a situation that could have pushed all of us to our limits, it has been pleasing to see so many families coming together and striving.
We’ve sat around the table as a family and eaten meals together, because for once, we are all home at the same time. Dinner table chatter hasn’t been dampened by grumbles about what went wrong in our working days, because at present, we are too appreciative of our safety to moan.
We have cracked out our old stashes of board games and indulged in a spot of Tumbling Monkeys, Frustration and Monopoly, relishing in the simple delights of nostalgia.
We’ve giggled while desperately trying to keep up with Joe Wicks, often ending up in a heap on the floor in a tangle of arms and legs. Who needs press-ups anyway?!
We’ve given virtual Zumba a bash in the kitchen in-between cooking tea (which almost led to divorce in my house as my husband realised that he might not have a career in dance after all…)!
We’ve snuggled on the sofa with Disney Plus, revisiting our own childhoods while introducing our own children and young people to the films we used to love so much.
We’ve taken lengthy walks with the dog as a family, rather than whizzing out on a quick solo sprint around the block, hurrying back to make three sets of teas and bunging yet another wash on.
We’ve pulled our bikes out of the shed to enjoy our one form of exercise a day, especially over the glorious Bank Holiday weekend. We’ve taught our children and young people the liberating feeling of bike riding in anticipation of a summer of freedom once lock-down lifts.
We’ve stood on our doorsteps at 8pm every Thursday night and had the emotion knocked out of us by such stunning examples of community spirit.
We have come together with the world, we have come together as a country, we have come together within our communities, and we have united in our very own families.
We’ve read, we’ve drawn, we’ve created, we’ve crafted, we’ve baked, we’ve watched, we’ve learned, we’ve laughed, and most importantly, we’ve loved.
Of course, I’m confident in saying that we have all had our fair share of arguments too, which is completely normal under the circumstances! Husband chewing cereal too loudly while you’re trying to make an important call, the kids demanding snacks ten minutes after breakfast, and Dad giving the kids permission to eat an entire Easter egg in place of lunch… It’s all part of the fun!
With a lack of cinemas, entertainment complexes and shops, we have stripped back the inessential and been resourceful in finding our own boredom busters. A large part of this has meant that we have all participated in joys that we perhaps haven’t had the time for for years… Things like baking, crafting and reading have all rocketed in popularity over the past few weeks.
The clock has been snatched from our hands and we have been forced to slow down, which has proven to be a remedy for stress that many of us didn’t even realise we craved.
But what about the family members we don’t live with?
Lock down is hard, there is no denying it. It is especially hard for the family members we unfortunately cannot see during this time. Being unable to hug Mum, fist pump Dad, kiss Grandma on the cheek, or hold Grandad’s hand is heart wrenching, but we know that we are doing all that we can to protect our precious families, and when all of this is over, we’re going to have one heck of a celebration! Every moment we spend with our families from now on in will feel that little bit more special.
In spite of the lock-down, we have come up with new and inventive ways to keep in touch with our loved ones in different households. We’ve used various technological platforms to feel that bit closer to our families, no matter how far away they might be. Children have painted rainbows to send to Grandma and Grandad to proudly display in their porches. New parents have shown babies off to isolating family members from beyond the windows, raising smiles.
While I’m sure most of us are itching for a bit of socialisation, retail therapy and a lovely meal out, I think we have all surprised ourselves at how well we have all coped in this.
We are coping. We’re getting by. No, it’s not easy, and yes, the world we are living in is an uncertain place right now, but as humans, our shared compassion and unity is a spine tingling example of our strength.
Look at what we have already achieved, despite everything that is pushing against us! Look at all of the fund raising we have done from our own homes for the NHS! Look at the dedication of Captain Tom! Just walk along your street and look at all of the amazing rainbows in the windows. Count the families on the street at 8pm every Thursday.
Just stop and take in every singe ounce of appreciation and love that is keeping us afloat right now.
The thought of lock-down was a depressing and frightening concept, but together, we continue to pull one another through, one day at a time. From our own little families to the huge family of the entire county, we have shown that if we stick together, we can get through anything.
Love always prevails.
By Cara Jasmine Bradley