Anxiety plus some good things in the time of coronavirus

March 30, 2020

Dear Max and Rebecca

Right now you’re both building LEGO (thanks to the Facebook challenges that are giving some motivation and ideas). We’re listening to music, I’ve drunk four mugs of coffee, we’ve made French toast, I’ve done an exercise class on YouTube (you both joined in at various points), and finished work for the day.

Yesterday I weighed myself, and I’ve put on 3kg in the 1.5 week social-distancing period alone (a week and a half), so I’m aiming to be more careful during lockdown. I’m still adding some condensed milk to my coffee (my thighs know that something so good can be so bad, but haven’t restocked the Smarties or white Easter eggs.

 

It’s weird to be living through something like this, and I’ll be honest and say that my anxiety is quite high. I worry for the world and for the unknown – when will things be “normal” again, when will be allowed out, when will our big 2020 plans come into fruition, will we remain healthy, will my loved ones be okay? And so it goes.

But wow, for us, there have been lots of good things in the last few days of lockdown, and if I don’t acknowledge them, then I’d likely sink further into anxiety and sadness. I recognise that we are fortunate to experience positive things right now, but I also don’t want to be guilted into recognising them and talking about them (Other people reading this: I realise not everyone is in this position).

While we have been working in the week (Andrew with more hours and more pressure), there have been wonderful hours together without work, and it’s been incredible. We have all slowed down. This weekend without many obligations, it’s been even slower. There’s been no rush to get through the crafts, the LEGO building, the meals, the playtime. The only reasons I followed time over the weekend were for our family Zoom calls (more about those later), and to time our biscuits in the oven.

We’re more connected than ever, and we’re at a pace that is contributing to lots of fulfilling time together. I’ve become a nicer mom – a bit more patient, a lot more involved, laughing more, checking my phone less. I’m what the Zen Buddhists might call “Present with Presence” and I really am enjoying it.

Rebecca, your dad has been your everything for so long, but there’s a need that’s now growing for me. “I want to lie next to mommy,” “I want mommy to dress me,” “I want to play with mommy”. I can only attribute this to the fact that I’m more present, and less distracted with everything else.

This lockdown has given us more time. I’m enjoy long Zoom conversations with my family. We’re talking about things and feelings, something that weekly talks or WhatsApps might not have achieved. The time has given me the opportunity to appreciate things like LEGO blocks, vegetables to bake, biscuit cutters, sugar-free tonic water, glitter pens. You name it, I’m appreciating it. This new pace is the gratitude enabler, and if I ever had to come up with a learning from this terrible crisis, I would say gratitude.

The two of you are more “siblinged” than ever – you’re important company for each other, and you’re playing and doing chores together. Your resilience is a great anchor and example for me, and we’re having lots of fun. Lots of it.

You guys are the calm in the tempest. The upper in my (lock)down state. Thank you for this.

xMom

PS: I hope one day soon we’ll be laughing at some of the ridiculous home exercises I did – in mostly pyjamas and a sports bra

 

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