Life as we Know it (May 21)

Yesterday, my parents travelled home after a 7 day sleepover at our house. The UK rules changed on the 17th of May and that was the day they arrived; not only viewing our “new” home for the first time (we moved in last August!), but also staying with us overnight for the first time in several years!

Remarkably, all 7 days were pretty much perfect. (I know right?! Perfect.)

Not least because my Dad accompanied every school run; pushing the scooter-clad kids up the hill in double time like the machine that he is. Go Grandad!

If Carlsberg made school runs …

Not even least because I got my Covid vaccine on Wednesday afternoon (more about that experience here!), whilst actual real life grandparents collected the kids from school- double whoop!

But also, rather excitingly, because indoor hospitality venues also reopened the day that they arrived: making the simple act of going out for coffee and cake with “me Mam”, or having a pub lunch at the end of a bike ride with “me Dad”, feel like super significant life experiences! Above and beyond the novelties that they already are.

Still. Despite the noted perfection and holiday-esque behaviour, I now feel absolutely wiped! Emotional energy overload, perhaps? Sat on the sofa with the Youngest this afternoon, ignoring the mound of laundry and pretending not to fall asleep to Frozen… the phone rings.

It’s a local number.

Uh oh.

We are due to go to Husband’s homeland and do his family reunion in T minus 3 days. Due to Covid restrictions and other medical situations, we haven’t actually set foot down there in three years. (His brother is also so ‘native’ that he won’t cross the Tamar for love nor money, and so we haven’t seen him in three years either!)

Long and short… there’s a fair amount of nervous energy being poured into the sheer hope that we actually get down there. I mean, we have three kids in three different school “bubbles”. If any of their peers test positive… we’re grounded for 10 days. The odds are not exactly in our favour!

I stare at my phone as it hollers.

I bet it’s school.

It is, isn’t it?

“Hello…?”

It is. (I really should save that number!)

“Hi, this is Miss C, the Year 2 teacher?”

“Hi…”

I know who you are … cut to it!

“It’s just to let you know…”

Oh no. Here we go.

(Or don’t go, more like.)

“The Eldest bumped heads with someone at break time-“

Oh thank goodness!

“Pardon?”

“Sorry, I mean… erm… is she OK?”

(She was fine! Of course she was. Exhale!)

And so we are still going … so far!

I’m avoiding track and trace venues this week, but too busy with volunteer commitments (and, let’s face it, too much of a swot!) to keep the kids off school… so we are back in that zone. Back in that uncomfortable place where a family reunion is almost within reach… but you just don’t dare imagine it in case it all gets taken away at the last minute!

Such is this strange, strange life as we have come to know it.

Tomorrow I will get up early, disinfect a surface, lay out a Lateral Flow Test Kit and stick a swab down the back of my throat and up both nostrils. I’ll transfer my sample into a tube of liquid, squirt it onto a piece of plastic and wait exactly thirty minutes to see if I am carrying the virus asymptomatically and thus unknowingly passing it on. (What an amazing feat of science! It looks very much like a pregnancy test but I am almost certain I’m not supposed to pee on it. Almost!)

Provided it is clear, I’ll then head to Toddler group where the windows will be open and everyone will be wearing masks and sitting at least one metre apart. We will disinfect everything after use and look out for anything being chewed! I’ll chat to various parents who have pre-booked places about how good it is to see their lockdown babies interacting with other humans, or how the constant act of entertaining one or more toddlers within their own four walls has positively driven them up one!

It will be nice. I have absolutely loved being back in the community and providing a service that people so clearly and visibly and verbally express that they need. Later, I will stand outside of the school gates, in my mask, and wait for the staggered release of my apparently uninfected offspring. I’ll breathe another massive sigh of relief that we got through another day and then hope … and pray… that in just another twenty four hours… we might actually GET AWAY!

Much much love, God bless you, thanks for reading xxx

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