This time last year we had no idea that people ate bats or that there was a place called Wuhan. By February, there were warning signs but they were at arms length. Hop, skip and a jump into March and, as they say, the rest is history. Mr M and I went down with the virus in the run up to lockdown, swiftly followed by the 3 yr old that first weekend, then the 2 yr old. Three weeks of self isolation later, the support of an amazing NHS volunteer, incredible friends picking up precious food supplies, a crash course in using a nebuliser with minors (reward stickers helped enormously), the comedy of juggling childcare and work, topped off with Mr M losing his taste and smell. It was a peachy year.
We were lucky - we didn't lose anyone. No hospital trips were required. We weren't furloughed. But our lives changed inexplicably that weekend in March. The fear of death, the fear of not knowing, the fear of failure, the fear of letting people down, the fear of not measuring up. Memories were not made. We didn't have time to learn a new hobby or bake banana bread or get fit or Marie Kondo the house. Holidays were cancelled. There were far too many deliveries from Laithwaites than was healthy. We have barely moved for 10 months - we still haven't worked out when you're meant to squeeze that in between kids, work, eating, sleeping and repeat.
Lockdown without childcare support broke us.
But it also made us - as a couple, we talk properly now - there's no time or space to avoid it. We both experienced awful low points and needed the other's support. We divided and conquered when it came to childcare - there was frustration, shouting, good intentions, an over reliance on Disney + and The Enchanted Nanny (an absolute lifesaver). A started school and, astonishingly, her school remained open during the Autumn term unlike others locally hit with the fall out of summer trips. O moved up to preschool and suddenly became a proper little boy. Birthdays and Christmas were celebrated with FaceTime, cake and fizz.
And so we ended the year; grateful but tired, hopeful that schools would remain open, an altered diet adapted to support Mr M's taste and smell damage - Jamie Oliver's meatloaf in lieu of turkey or a capon turned out to be an absolute game changer on Christmas Day, an ability to survive on a weekly shop, thankful for a bread maker and just a little adrift.
It will take time to adjust, to process, to move on. For now - one foot in front of the other.