A New Kind Of Normal

Today is our sixth day of isolation. 

It feels simultaneously surreal and terrifying. Our conversations have switched from what should we watch on the TV and sharing anecdotes about our days, to how we will get essential supplies and to how once we return to work we will protect the children.

The Bear has made the switch to our new home based life with ease.

She has communicated with friends and family via FaceTime, savoured the normality of the distance learning work her school have sent and declared that she much prefers staying home to having to leave the house anyway. Whilst I’m glad she’s coping well, I cannot help but wonder of the long term impact for her, and how hard the transition back into the real world will be when we get there.

The Lion is finding it harder.

He is more active than the Bear and dislikes being in. He is easily bored and doesn’t understand why we can no longer visit his favourite places. There have been meltdowns and tears. His selective mutism means talking on the phone is hard – and often even impossible- for him. Set to start reception in September, the challenges for him, once all of this is over will be enormous. The transitions huge. They would have been anyway, but now there will be no continuity, no transition.

As a teacher, I am essentially still in limbo as we wait to see how local authorities and schools implement government guidance and organise provision for the children we care for. Whilst knowing that although I am a key worker – whatever that provision looks like, it will not be a provision that works for either of my children.

Once out of isolation a new normal will begin.

The Other Half and I will find a way of working our hours around each other, as a Scientist the Other Half is needed at work, but his company have said they will do all they can to work around the hours he can do. Meanwhile I will find a way of teaching my class remotely, looking after the children of key workers and being a mum – I just hope I can give all those roles the best possible version of me, the version of me they deserve.

For now we have food in the cupboard, we have our health and we have each other. I have never been more grateful for the technology which is keeping us connected to those that we cannot see. We have empty cardboard boxes to make junk models with, and the ingredients we need to make a birthday cake for the Lion in two weeks time.

Life is different than we ever imagined it would be.

But it could also be worse. So for now we are finding what joy we can in the small things and trying hard not to worry about the things we can’t control.

We are finding a new kind of normal. And that is something we know how to do.

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