The world has become one giant Sci-Fi movie set and we are all extras. It feels absolutely surreal and I still can’t quite wrap my head around what is happening.
When I thought about 2020, I had all this excitement not only for a New Year, but for a new decade and fresh opportunities. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought there would be a pandemic that kept the entire world in some form of lockdown, with hundreds of thousands of people having lost their lives.
Today is Day 50 of the National Lockdown, day 15 of Level 4; but it’s actually Day 62 of a Lockdown for my family. We started social distancing 12 days before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa was in a State of Emergency and a National Lockdown would take place.
I’ve been keeping a basic journal of what my family and I have been up to during the lockdown, plus interesting tidbits and facts. My boys are probably going to learn about this in school, or have to do school projects on it and I’ll at least have a diary for them to refer back to. Alexi has basically been a lockdown baby for almost half his life… he’s 5.5 months old and we’ve been in lock down for 2 months already. He won’t remember any of this.
George, today, is exactly 1 month away from turning 3 years old and his memories will be of being home a lot, building forts and castles with Dad,
playing soccer in the passage, having “pool parties” on our small balcony, in his red shell ball pond, baking with Mom, making banana pancakes,
painting rainbows and putting them up in our windows,
watching movies under blankets with popcorn,
Zoom meetings with his school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes,
Whatsapp videos with his Aunty Tandi and Uncle Ross, his Yiayia and his Guyee and Papa (what he calls my Mom and Dad), picnics in the parking lot,
afternoons playing in the apartment parking lot, complete with picking flowers or jumping in “muddy puddles.”
and on early Sunday evenings, balcony parties as Dad DJ’d for the apartment block, trying to raise funds for charities.
I am well aware of what a fortunate lockdown we have had and it is why we have managed to stay positive throughout. Yes, it’s been incredibly frustrating at times, and a huge eye opener for what we took for granted in the past; but when I look at what we have, we have nothing to complain about. I’ve checked my privilege.
That being said, I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions and I’ve allowed myself to feel them all. I’ve not been able to sleep as the anxiety races through my body thinking about the economy, watching small businesses (and large businesses) struggle or close down, and freelancers suddenly lose all income.
I’ve been so upset about Georgie’s school, which has been going for 14 years and will now have to close down. Every morning when he gets dressed, he asks: “Are we going to school now?” and “Mommy, can I see my friends today?” His sweet, toddler voice makes it even more heart wrenching, but he is resilient and quickly finds the joy in everything. He’s humbled me completely in the way he’s behaved in this. Even with a few tantrums, he’s behaved better than most adults have during this.
I think about the people on the front line, the families losing loved ones and who couldn’t even say goodbye because they were quarantined. I think about the nurses and doctors losing patient after patient and watching the number of deaths rise. I’ve had to remind myself that it’s not just a few numbers on a screen… these are hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives and the ripple affects of family and friends left behind in their grief. I’ve been upset about my Mother in Law who lives alone and can’t even see her grandchildren. She’s such a huge part of our lives and I miss her so much!
I’ve sobbed at the horror of women and children being in lockdown with their abusers. I’ve cried thinking about those children who rely on going to school to get their one meal a day and now don’t even have that. I think about the conditions my nanny, Enalla and our domestic cleaner, Melisi are living in and if they’re OK. We are in contact all the time and ensuring they’re looked after financially, but I still worry about them and if they’re safe. I think about those who have had to cancel/postpone their weddings, new Mothers who are giving birth and can’t have their families visit, and I think about our President who, in my humble opinion has been phenomenal in these uncertain times and yet he simply cannot please everyone. Damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t. I’ve laughed at all the memes, been frustrated over social media and how everyone and their un-walked dog is now an expert – an expert politician, doctor, immunologist, economist, and conspiracy theorist.
I’ve worried about my husband who will most likely be the very last to go back to work, since venues and entertainment will be the last to open up. Grateful that we don’t live gig to gig/month to month and grateful that I am able to work in essential services. Again, I’ve checked my privilege.
This is a terribly scary and uncertain time and no one has all the answers. Each day I list everything I’m grateful for and I say a prayer for the world. I know we all say that we’re in this together, and we are, but let’s be mindful that it doesn’t all look or feel the same. My husband and I were on the Expresso Morning show on SABC 3 and I loved what he said… “We’re all in the same storm, but in different boats!”
I hope you’re OK, being responsible and staying safe.