I don’t think I have ever felt my head as full as it is right now. Are you feeling the same? There are more questions than answers and no respite from it all. I’m beginning to think that not only are we going to be in need of therapy when we get through all this, but our pets are as well, (or maybe that’s just mine?) The dog is beginning to have withdrawals when I go from one room to the next and is becoming increasingly adamant that his position in our bed is inbetween us, head on our pillows and snuggled in as close as he can. I’m beginning to regret letting him upstairs at night…
All these positive quotes are great but in this very confusing and alien time I’m not sure where I need to “keep going” to!
During a socially distanced walk yesterday with my sister, we were recalling how we originally felt about the virus hitting the UK and whether we realistically thought it would ever impact us. I recall bosses of friends who were pregnant at the time being shitty with them taking ownership of their health and unborn child by choosing to shield themselves before the official lockdown. I never took action myself to remove my children from school before school closures were put in place, like I know other families chose to do. I conformed with society at the time and wrote it off as something so far fetched, the situation we find ourselves in now, could never possibly happen in this day and age. Yet, it did and we are here experiencing the consequences of this quite unfathomable piece of history.
I am now left with a head overloaded with information and vast amounts of decisions to make that could affect the health of both my immediate and extended family in the future. The question of the return to school, for example, I hastily returned the form to the head teacher selecting the box which stated that I was happy to send my year 6 daughter back to school as of June 1st. My reasoning behind this was not only the evidence that I had read up on about the reduced risk Covid-19 has on children, but my eagerness for Emmie to have some sort of opportunity to finish her time at primary school properly; with her class, with her friends, with normality. On reflection, that seriously is not going to be the case. What was I thinking? She would get a leavers party? The year 6 leavers church service would be going ahead? She would still get to perform in the year 6 leavers play?
I think the fundamental answer to all of those questions Sam is a big fat N-O spells NO!
The truth is, no one has any idea what the future holds right now, (even the government believe it or not!) Just as we all questioned our future back in January, when we initially heard about this strange virus in the city of Wuhan, we have no idea where the hell we are going to be in three months time, let alone by Christmas! The ground has never felt so unsteady. But, I think we know for certain, in the short-term, that in reality, Emmie is not going to be enjoying the end of her journey at primary school as she should be. Her transition to high school is going to look very different to what a usual year 6 group would experience. I find this so incredibly sad. For years I have dreaded the leavers church service as it is so frought with emotional 10 and 11 year olds along with the sobbing parents you have shared the school journey with. However, it saddens me that we will now not get that day and opportunity to say goodbye and reflect on their time at primary school.
The thing is, when I begin to feel upset by Emmie’s situation I also feel incredibly guilty that I am upset by something, which in the grand scheme of things, is so unbelievably trival when there are others fighting for their lives or grieving for loved ones that they have lost. Balancing these emotions is difficult. Are we allowed to grieve what should have been our lives right now? I know that realistically Emmie is not as upset about her final weeks at school as I am, and is actually really excited about the prospect of starting high school. Maybe that’s the case for most kids? But, I do think a lot of what Emmie is feeling is a massive underlying anxiety about the threat she may face in going back to school and I don’t think I really considered that properly before filling out the school questionaire. For kids, their lives have been completely turned upside down in a very sudden and drastic way that will take a lot of time and reassurance to support them in returning back to normal.
A child’s everyday is very different right now
Emmie’s fear of school is very real and not for one moment a dramatic excuse for staying home and not returning on 1st June. In recent weeks she has confided in me the worries she has of contracting and dying from Covid-19. These thoughts tend to surface at night time when she is trying to get to sleep. I decided to take her with me to pick up a few bits from the shop the other day, as it dawned on me how long she had been in the safe surroundings of her home and garden, fenced off from the world. The outside is beginning to be so alien to her she seems to be getting fearful of the prospect of venturing out again. Before it got any worse I decided to take her out with me to offer some sort of reassurance and show her the new normal of being out in society. We discussed the prospect of returning to school during this short trip but she was adamant in her independant decision that she will not return to school at the beginning of June because the concern of Covid-19 is too great for her.
Maybe we should be listening to what the kids are saying during the decision-making of returning to school? Their voice is as important, if not more important than our own. International law advocates that children have the freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and most importantly to have their views respected. Perhaps, in this particular decision regarding the final month of the school term, I should dutifully process Emmie’s thoughts, admire her expressed wishes and fully respect her views.
Food for thought anyway. I’ve got time to ponder this one as I haven’t got any other plans at the moment.
Have a lovely Sunday everyone.