We’re still in isolation. We haven’t been inside a car or turned left out of our driveway or touched another person outside of our household since Wednesday 18th March. We haven’t stepped inside a shop or checked a book out from the library or visited a museum. We haven’t dipped a toe into a swimming pool, tapped a tap shoe on a gleaming wooden floor or splashed a welly boot into the big puddle at the end of the lane near school. We haven’t huddled on the playground or dashed from class to class or lugged heavy shopping bags from trolley to car. We haven’t strayed from the rules even though they’re weighing us down daily, crushing slowly, smothering gently. We’re still in isolation and I think this might be the new normal for us all.
The children have been by my side since the day they were sent home from school with a cough that turned out to be nothing, turned out to be a few nights of watchful wakefulness incase symptoms developed and this ‘thing’ claimed us too. We’ve been together in isolation and hiding away from an invisible dragon breathing fire down our necks, into our bellies and through our dreams. We’re nearing the end of seven weeks like this. Seven weeks! And still, isolation stretches on like a promise sealed in gold. Other countries around the world are lifting their lockdowns and retreating back again, while we hesitate, unsure, unwilling to make a decision we cannot return from. This dragon is not going anywhere, for now.
So, for us, isolation is a picture of repetition. A new routine that sees us wake unenthusiastically kind-of-ready for the day but not really sure it’s worth it. But we stick to it- because without this routine I’ve become so fiercely protective of, we all fall apart. We drift. We feel we have no purpose or no there is no point to even the smallest of actions. We feel that isolation is breaking us.
Isolation, for us, is a safety blanket wrapped around our shoulders on the coldest day. The warmth of the sun as is peeps from behind the clouds. The feeling of new bed sheets when you’re so tired you can barely feel the pillows as you drift away. We’re holding on to isolation.
So despite the early morning starts to fit paid work in before home school, despite the constant obsessing over the best way to deliver a homestyle lesson on forces and magnets, despite the battle over who is going to put their lunch things in the dishwasher, give me the chance to use the bathroom in peace, put their shoes away, FINALLY learn how to turn lights out- despite the new normal, every day battles we’re all facing… despite all of that, isolation is working for us. We’re safe. We’re well. We’re slaying that dragon in our own small way.