What a strange reality
It's 9 am and I spend 15 minutes of child Monopoly
It's 4 pm and I'm playing soccer with the boys
It's 6 pm and I quit work and join the boys at the filled supper table that smells really good.
It often feels quite idyllic and in a way it is very idyllic. We are forced on quality time together.
But how strange the world became, how quickly our reality changed (to something that never will be entirely the same again??)
When Jan left abroad early March, I feared he'd not get home when planned and that he'd be somewhere abroad 2 weeks in isolation because somewhere nearby him got infected. I figured I might be alone with the children for a month. I told him the world would be different when he returned. "You'll see, we'll have already 100 infections here in Belgium too".
He returned without issue but indeed in a different world. The tested and confirmed infections in Belgium are a tenfold of that.
During his absence my mother came over to help with the children and to go and see a theatre play where our cousin was starring. When she took the train on our way to Leuven there was already rumours that we needed strict isolation rules...I hesitated whether it was a good idea but she was already on her way and she is already alone so often and in need of human contact.
We didn't hug, we washed our hands like crazy, we did go to the play and saw our family without hugs and kisses.
The next day our office was closed and I was on mandatory homework...there was no more necessity for her to go and get the children from school and it seemed best that she returned home a day early.
We talked and I mentioned my fear that one day schools would close down and how organisationally difficult that would become but that I wouldn't allow her to come and babysit anymore for the time being ... The "one day" was literally 12 hours later.
We sat together for a coffee before she left and I tried to explain my intuition that maybe we wouldn't see each other and that I wouldn't come to visit every other weekend as usual. 5 days later we were restricted to outside for any other reason than grocery shopping.
Other parents were forced to homework previous week already but started to discuss in the class whatsapp how to sew much needed mouth masks...we were turning into a war economy, so it felt to me. Gin distilleries in Belgium switch to production of sanitizing alcohol.
Every day last week reality changed. My constant predictions that it would soon be worse were always surpassed by reality. The constant flow of media and press updates even in my "safe, happy free time" social media such as facebook where everyone felt the necessity to post empty shelves in supermarkets hit me hard. I got scared.
Fortunately Jan managed to return home as planned without much issue, probably just a few days before airports started to close. Fortunately his calm down to earth mentality gives me a good stable balance. Fortunately we find the humour in the many video calls at work where children from all participants freely pass by and wave and send silly faces. Fortunately we still have enough work to do for the time being. Fortunately there is great ways to stay in touch with people digitally and everyone is very supportive to everyone. Fortunately the level of change in society seems to slow down now so we can get used to the new reality. Fortunately the children are taking it really well.
Fortunately it can be very idyllic and fortunately we are safe inside our house. We've done this for a week now and can do this for x more. We're all in this together globally. It's a strange bond to have but it's good to have it. Let's do this.