The joy of six

I half expected the neighbours to take to the streets and applaud when I dragged myself out of bed at 6.00am this morning. It was tough. Having spent every day living like it’s a bank holiday since lockdown began, getting up at the crack of dawn when it actually is one, took some effort.

I meditated, went for a run, did a load of washing and took a shower, but these are not the reasons for my early rising. I did it so that I could get a supermarket delivery slot and am pleased to report that Waitrose will be showing up with bananas and other foods I have come to appreciate at six this evening.

I am glad I got up early because my head is clearer than it has been in weeks. Living in this eternal Christmas bubble is not good for me, in fact, in many ways, it’s even more indulgent than the festive season – there is a 1kg tub of roasted, salted cashews in the kitchen, I have 24 bags of my favourite crisps and two large boxes filled with Cadbury’s finest.

I’ve also been staring at my iPad screen until the early hours, either binge watching Netflix or terrifying myself with the latest news bulletins and videos of mass burials and gasping Covid-19 patients.

My morning routine is getting more teenage by the day – at this rate, they’ll be getting up before me, which will be something as child three rose at 3pm last Thursday.

I feel powerless to do anything about their behaviour because I have developed the parenting skills of a single celled amoeba. The girls are glued to their screens morning, noon and night playing Minecraft. I managed to drag one out for a walk yesterday, but the other is in a bad way. The news has petrified her and she is taking #StayAtHome quite literally.

The good news is, we are gathering for meals and let me tell you, a family that eats together….argues. It’s been what you might call a tense week.

I tried to lighten things by suggesting that our youngest teach us some Tik Tok dances as I’d seen a great video on Facebook on this very subject.

‘No,’ she said flatly. ‘That is not a vibe.’

That put me in my place.

Hadley Freeman wrote in The Guardian today that self-isolating with parents is a young child’s wildest fantasy (that’s if they don’t have abusive or warring parents), but she didn’t think it would be the same for teenagers. It is not. My middle child can barely stand to be in the same room with me at the moment and I thank God that we have a roomy house.

Still, I realise how lucky I am. There are so many people suffering right now and all I have to worry about are minor irritations. I am still enjoying life in the slow lane. I’ve done more gardening in the past two weeks than I’ve done in a decade, I have rediscovered the joy of cooking and it feels as if the birds have been heaven sent to cheer us up with their song.

I was supposed to be going on a silent retreat next weekend. I was really looking forward to it, but I guess I don’t need it as much now. I spend so much more time gazing out of the window, marvelling at tiny bees in the garden and stopping to feel the sun on my face. When I remind myself of how miraculous nature is, it makes me worry less. The coronavirus is part of the natural world and if I place my trust in nature, I know it is here for a reason and that everything will be okay.

Still, my heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones or are worrying about them as I type. I think about how my dad died with the three of us at his bedside for a week, showering him with love and tenderness. I never imagined that would be something I’d look back on and feel grateful for, but I do.

Gosh is that the time? I’m starting to feel a bit tired now and can feel a bank holiday nap coming on, but before I go, I wanted to let you know that my spiritual mentor Marion Young is doing a whole host of online events, with many of them free or costing as little as ¬£5, so if you want to know what it’s like to work with a spiritual mentor, have a look HERE to see what’s on. I must say, her meditation sessions have proved a life-saver for me thus far. It’d be great to see some of you on the Zoom calls!


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