Pandemic Diary #9

Saturday

Supposedly Husband’s “light days”, Saturdays have been a bit of a washout of late. We play games and laze about in the morning while he works, talking about and fully intending to go for a bike ride in the afternoon. For a few weeks in a row, however, it has rained by afternoon or we have left it so late that it is hardly worth bothering!

Make a mental note to just take them out in the morning from now on

Family Movie night and we embrace the festive season with Nativity Rocks; which is OK so long as you can mentally accept a reality in which safeguarding just isn’t a thing. At all. Ever!

Sunday

We engage in a few Church bits today and they are all about Advent: the excitement and the build up to Christmas. While this got me excited last week, it gets me down today. I’m still a bit mentally and emotionally exhausted about the whole family thing, I think, and have a bit of a sulk and a cry.

Later, I confess some unidentifiable anxiety to Husband. Where has my lust for life and God and faith gone? I’ve no idea. I just feel on edge and I don’t know why.

The answer – or rather the butt kick- comes in the form of a round-Robin text message from the famous window cleaner. He’s doing the rounds tomorrow apparently and, while I’ve been swotting up on all of his most difficult questions for the past month, I really don’t feel ready to follow up our intense conversation tomorrow!

Which is probably a good thing. In my experience, God rarely uses people who think they know everything anyway! I realise that I now have no time to sulk or drag my feet; always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have. I need God’s wisdom and I need it now!

Husband and I fast and pray that evening and tune in to a bit of New Wine Worship and teaching online. This is great, as one of my favourite speakers is on. It’s also incredibly distracting as one of my favourite speakers is on and she is also, apparently, flawless

She’s older than me…” I whisper to Husband.

“What? So?”

And she has kids...” I’m more incredulous.

“OK?”

If she’s older than me and also has kids… then why is her skin so perfect?!”

“Huh?”

Look at her eyes! She has no eye bags or crows’ feetnot even one line! How is that possible?!”

“She’s just wearing eyeliner,” he offers.

(Weehee, someone who knows less about eyeliner than me!)

Eye liner doesn’t get rid of all your wrinkles, mate! But I do wonder what foundation she’s wearing…”

“Can we maybe just listen to what she’s saying please?”

Ok. Yep.. sure…

No. It’s no use. I’m going to have to close my eyes…

(Perhaps that will help?!)

Monday

The good thing about doing something really bizarre like waiting in for your window cleaner in case he wants a chat, is that the house gets really really clean in the process!

Thankfully, he shows up when Husband is around on a lunch break, so it seems a lot less ‘Desperate Housewives’ to “be available!” About ninety minutes later, however, Husband is long since back in his office and joking with me that I’d better not he paying him by the hour…

Yep, the guy has a lot more thoughts today, but I also discover a lot more context and get a very different impression of where he’s at. He jokes that his friend, a Jehovah’s Witness, has long since given up- now that’s an achievement! “I knock on people’s doors to tell them about God but I’m not talking to you about it anymore! You know everything, you believe everything, but you refuse to do anything about it… come back when you have something new to say!

Ninety minutes over cold coffee at the back door and I can see how his friend reached this conclusion! We end with banter and he goes in peace, leaving me with mine. I’m pretty confident I’ve done all I can. I’ve listened, prayed, shared the Gospel fully, as well as a few testimonies in between. What’s left now is between him and God, and has little to do with me!

Tuesday

It’s the 1st of December and the temperature has suddenly dropped. Toddler has a coat, hat, gloves and wellies on but cries all the way home from the school run that she is too cold. “My hands hurt!” She sobs and I run home, feeling like the cruelest parent ever.

At home, I wrap her up in blankets, make her a hot milk and then dig out the foot muff for the pram.

Winter is officially here!

Wednesday

Swimming!

Swimming is BACK! And it is glorious! Toddler talks about it all morning; she packs her own bag, she stands at the door shouting of me to get a move on; she tells me how excited she is all the way there and when we get out of the car she looks up at the Leisure Centre like Repunzel fresh out of the tower and gasps:

Wow! It’s BEAUTY!”

She’s frustrated when I go up to pay and so my heart is in my mouth when they say that somehow, over lockdown, someone took our place! Minutes later, however, the manager says that somebody else has dropped out this morning so we can rejoin…

Exhale.

Praise God!

That was close.

Inside, Toddler is beaming. (She is also wearing the six year old’s swimming costume that I failed to notice she’d packed instead of her own! Oops!) But she is happy and, as such, my heart is fit to burst. We have kept ourselves busy this past month going for walks and things, but nothing really compares to this quality time set out just for us to do something that she loves.

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?

Thursday

Today is largely spent getting the house clean and cleared ready for Christmas, which is such a satisfying task!

It is also spent attempting to apply for Toddler’s preschool hours, which is a lot less satisfying in the present climate! She starts in April… will our Church groups be back on by April?

If they are do I want to go? Do I need to volunteer? Which of our present activities do they clash with? Do I really want to spend my precious remaining days at home with my third and final child going to groups that will probably require me to wear two heads, as it were? Or should I volunteer on her nursery days and keep her days off protected? But then…

Do I really want to give up my first childfree days in seven years to run toddler groups?!

It’s a head mashing activity which makes me realise I’m not actually ready, despite fantasizing about this free time for years, to let go yet.

The beginning of the end of this phase of life is just around the corner, and now that I can actually see it, I’m choking at the thought.

I block it out by cuddling up and letting the little one fall asleep in my arms. You don’t need a lockdown to realise these days are precious as gold, but it helps.

Friday

It’s Christmas tree day! I have spent far too many nights this week staying up far too late, finishing jobs, getting ready for today… the day we will set off straight from the school run and pick out our tree from the wonky field! A bit sad to do it without all of the children this year, but with social distancing we figured it best. Besides, each year we get home far too late and I end up trying myself in knots with lights so that it’s near enough bedtime by the time the kids are allowed to hang their decks! Which isn’t good for anyone’s nerves…

But not this year! This year, the tree will be ready, all of the lights will be up and they can just get home, hang their bits, watch Arthur Christmas, bish bosh bish!

Except Husband has somehow broken again and won’t get out of bed! He’s exhausted, bless him, but I’m short on sympathy… why is it always the days I have a schedule to keep?!

I think this Advent is a different kind of exhaustion,” he explains. “Normally it’s just so busy, and you’re tired from being three places at once. This year, I’m just carrying a lot of people’s disappointment. Like every day I have to announce something that’s going to upset someone. And I’m a bit drained with it, you know?”

I do know. And I know what will help. Tree shopping!

Eventually we leave at lunch time and grab ourselves a £10 bargain from the wonky field. It smells divine! I do a very amateur job of putting up outdoor house lights for the first time ever. They may look like a line pee’d by a drunk person on Christmas Eve, but hey… we are now illuminating our “‘Light in the Darkness” windows, so that is a winner! The kids come home and hang all of our mismatched, novelty decorations on the tree. I love how each piece brings a smile! Not least the wedding favours and joke presents gifted by friends not seen for so long…

Christmas is different… but it is still coming!

Finally, we are tucked up under blankets with hot chocolate watching Arthur Christmas, and all is well. Glad tidings of comfort and joy.

When it is finished I can barely move.

I’m not surprised!” Husband taunts. “You haven’t come to bed before midnight all week!”

“Yes, yes, thank you… but presents are posted and cards are done and…”

And they could have been done slowly, by a normal person, over the next three weeks…”

“Yes, alright! Thank you! But you know how I hate to leave a job unfinished…”

Yes, I know and that’s fine but… All I’m saying is… you don’t get eyes like Rachel Gardner from wrapping presents until 12 o clock!”

Ouch!

Well played, Husband.

Time for a nap?!

Thanks for reading. Peace be with you!

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