FEBRUARY, PLEASE BE KIND
Hundreds of green shoots are pushing their way up in the garden; little clusters of crocuses sprinkle the front lawn. It’s hard not to view it as a promise of spring - of life reawakening in the ground - and perhaps imparting a little of its brightness to the world above.
January was really bleak this year. I almost got out a bottle of fizz I bought for New Years Eve to toast the departure of this month of gloom. And whilst I know the daffodils (and all the other bulbs I buried and promptly forgot what I’d bought) don’t have the power to vaccinate enough people to halt the virus in its tracks before they bloom, I have to believe in the metaphor they represent - more so this year than any other. That the effort and preparations we put into things will indeed blossom.
January has kicked my butt this year. Lockdown last year did at least have a bit of a novelty about it. It also had sunshine and a lot more flexibility. This year the expectation seems to be much more that education will be as close to normal as it can be - its just that everyone is at the end of their computers rather than all in a room together and its so very much more exhausting than actually being in the classroom.
I am aware that there are things that are much, much easier this time round - as I write this in snatched moments on the day all three are in the house and I’m trying to help Sally with her English whilst trying to make sure Pop doesn’t squash Cleo - add my work into this and it just would not function. The two smallest people of the house still get to go out and play at nursery so I can actually do some work whilst sorting out Sally classes, and they’re much less effected.
Sally on the other hand is left alone at home with her mum who spends a fair chunk of the day trying to persuade reluctant teenagers to answer questions whilst she merrily clicks the hand-up icon and answers as many questions as she can in Maths. The independence compared to last year is striking, the consequential emotional breakdowns as a result of all this being independent and isolated from all her friends has been equally striking. Who knew that squabbling with her brother was in fact something that helped keep her sane last year!
I’ve seen a number of articles in the last week or so about the impact this lockdown is having on the mental health of our children and it is scary. I don’t think Sally at six is going to suffer any lasting impact, or at least I hope not - but seeing a normally generally well adjusted child crying over a jigsaw puzzle, sleepwalking and waking up screaming with nightmares at 2.30 is a bit of a shock.
So, I’m going to look at the green shoots and hope they signal the gradual turn of the tide. I can’t see them grow before my eyes, but I can see the difference week to week. I’ll have to let the daffodils be a promise of lighter evenings and maybe wait until the roses come into bud until we can go and see friends again, but spring is coming and it will chase away some of the gloom. It has to.
But if any of the flowers can promise an end to the rain I’d love to know about it!