I was rude.
It’s not my usual character, but today was anything but a usual day. A week ago, it was almost comical, but I wasn’t laughing today. I was still praying for people in China when the news over here started showing empty aisles in the shops. I remember walking past an empty pasta aisle in Tesco and thinking “… did someone miss their shift or did a van breakdown somewhere…?” I joked about it later with a friend as the reality of what was happening had not begun to sink in at all. I went about my business as normal, singing about freedom from fear in my head and ignoring the panic around me. A few days later and I’m just out to pick a few things. I call my friend to see if she needs anything – as is my custom – and begin searching for items. I didn’t think I would be looking for nappies and wipes; so, after getting to the third shop and not finding these essential items, my gentle, long-suffering spirit was running out of battery life and I sort of lost my cool. I took the few items I could find from her list to her. She didn’t say or do anything out of character but I couldn’t take a joke right now, so I snapped when she attempted to share one. I apologized to her later as I was truly ashamed of my behaviour. What is in the air these days?
Yes, we are living in a season like never before, but I was taught to count my blessings, naming them one by one. In the midst of the chaos, there are still beautiful things going on. Now don’t judge me, as I understand that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so if I rejoice over ‘No Football’, I know a few people who will not support me; but really since the lockdown officially started, there have been some interesting developments within my home.
Firstly, my husband can work from home! The notion seemed impossible weeks ago but now – it’s happening! This particular change has had a huge impact on our family life. I don’t get asked “Mummy, where’s Daddy?” anymore. I don’t have to watch the children 24/7 as there is another adult in the house. It has actually been amusing to watch my son attempt to ask me for something, and then see if he can get the item again from Daddy. Even better is when he prefers Daddy to give him a bath! Our family life has certainly morphed into a new picture.
Secondly, for the first time in forever, I cooked Sunday lunch on Sunday afternoon – and it felt good! No Saturday night rushed cooking or 6am Sunday morning cooking, so that I wouldn’t be late for church… I didn’t even expect this blessing. From the moment cooking was to be part of my life, Sunday lunch was made very early on Sunday morning. It wasn’t until I started having children that I had to make this meal on Saturday night, as it takes a while to get children ready for church if you don’t want to be late. Last weekend, it just made sense not to stress about the meal on Saturday night since we were not rushing out of the house in the morning. And then, the online service finished on time, with no meetings after church (hallelujah), so I had time to make a meal and have it ready by 1:30pm!!! Please understand that not being able to physically go into a church building is probably the hardest part of this lockdown for me, but I’m counting my blessings.
Thirdly, I have re-awakened some old skills and learnt some new ones!!! I used to braid my own hair pretty well in my undergrad days but my level of busyness in recent years made me depend on wigs when hair emergencies occurred and I almost forgot DIY was ever an option. Even when the thought occurred, I would wonder about having hair extensions scattered around the house and children playing and interrupting, etc. But thanks to our compulsory house arrest, old skills have been unlocked and I gave myself the best braids I’ve ever done. I would have paid at least £45 (mate’s rates) to get that done outside. I even tried using tweezers for my eyebrows for the first time, and it suddenly didn’t hurt as much!
In the midst of all these new discoveries, I had an interesting thought. We work hard and make so many sacrifices in the name of building a better future – in which the pressure of working is almost none existent, and we have time to do the things we really want to do. My husband has not been able to exercise more than once a week in years, but in the last week, he has been out for a run four times and he is so happy about it. I actually picked up a novel and had the time to read it undisturbed because my husband is home and he can keep an eye on the children for a couple of hours while I enjoy some much needed ‘me time’.
As I tucked my son in bed the other day, I asked him to pray and he said “Father, thank you for Mummy helping me with my reading, and for Daddy helping with my writing…”. My heart did a somersault hearing those words.
These are some of the things I have desired to do but for one reason or the other, just didn’t quite get around to doing. Homework is normally rushed with barely any time to make learning fun. I know this season is nobody’s idea of fun, but have you taken some time to really look at what you have?
While casually discussing with my husband (another blessing of this lockdown) about how we are currently living, we outlined the things we are enjoying, and the things we wouldn’t want to lose when things go back to some sort of normal. Yes, I have more laundry to sort out and more meals to prepare, and more dishes to wash (arggghh), but we have laughed more as a family, and prayed more both as a family and as a couple. We both saw our daughter take her first unaided steps together – a milestone he would have missed if we were not locked in by force – and have enjoyed so many little things together, which we’ve really not had a chance to do since we got married. So, what are you really missing out on and what is the real cost of happiness to you? Take a good look at what you have now, and ask yourself “Will I still have this when ‘normal’ returns?
Just my thoughts,