Have you wondered what will come up when our grandchildren put 2020 into a Google search? I sure have! I’ve gone as far as to think that my mask and my hand sanitiser bottle will be worth hundreds of rands as a piece of tangible history from the year 2020. Maybe we will be called into our great-grandchildren’s history class to retell stories of life under lockdown – of baking banana bread, of exercising at a certain time during the day, of lining up in queues outside shops and getting disinfected before walking in. Isn’t it strange to think how we would have reacted a year ago if we saw images of our local shopping centres in this current pandemic?

 

Well, if you’re anything like me, we’ll have lots to talk about around the dinner table about the “olden days” that might be more interesting than the corporal punishment stories our parents tell us.

 

So here’s a post for a time capsule. One day when I put this post into a Google search to find my long forgotten blog, I’ll find this post and smile, remembering the good and not the bad of our lives in 2020.

 

I’ll never forget the first weekend. It was my 30th. I feared I would have to cancel the whole thing because the first case in South Africa was in the Midlands. Some people didn’t come. Now I look back and smile mockingly at how scared we were then! Praise God we don’t know what the future holds!

When lockdown was announced, I think I was sitting on my bed with bated breath, hoping for exactly what the president announced. My parents cut short their holiday in the Eastern Cape with my gran and drove the 12 hour drive home in a rented car because their changed flight was canceled. We all got together with our families before what we suspected to be a month of lockdown. Now I sit here three months later and still none of us have seen the inside of each other’s houses for weeks. I don’t know how long we’ve been in lockdown now. I’ve stopped counting.

 

The first day was eerie. Not a car could be heard, even on the highway in the distance. Not a dog barked because there was nothing to bark at. It was quieter than Christmas Day at rest time. And it was strange. For two weeks, it was quiet. Although, our garden was far from. My friend and her family live on our property and we decided to lock down as a unit. What a blessing! Our kids have had a blast and play together every day.

Each day has the same structure. We start off inside doing housework and independent play. Then, the kids all rush outside to play together. My friend and her husband play tag team so they can work. We are normally outside on his shift and each day, he is asked by my daughter to be pushed on the swing. Each day, he kindly obliges. Then, we all have lunch and a rest. In the afternoon, we might meet up incidentally. Then my husband arrives home from work and it’s dinner time, etc. The next day, it starts all over again. And again the next day. And the next. And the next. On the weekend there are no plans, really. And then it begins again.

 

However, when I look back, a lot has actually happened in this relatively short period of time that has changed our lives and, it’s a period of our lives we will never forget. Here’s what has changed for us during lockdown.

 

My Husband

The husband has an organisation called Break Free. Ideally he wants to be doing this full time. But, because he needs to talk to crowds of people, this all ground to a halt. But, lockdown didn’t stop God from working. In this short time, he has had two podcast interviews with Pure Sex Radio in Texas, a potential interview lined up with an ex-porn star from the USA and a free book sent to him by an author. He and I have had a conversation with the founder of Hope Redefined in Tennessee and we’ve made it onto her prayer list. We have been able to record a talk to teenagers and upload it to YouTube and we have done a Q&A with a local church over Zoom. Who would have thought God would continue to open doors throughout a period of the world having stopped? God has been gracious!

 

Me

I decided three days into lockdown that now was a good time to break my first bone so I kicked the washing basket good and hard. I had my first x-ray and wore a mask before it became government regulation. Then I visited a government hospital for the first time and saw where my friend worked instead of spending the day celebrating our wedding anniversary. Apparently I did a pretty good job so I was given a set of crutches and had my leg cast in plaster! I shuffled around for a few days with multiple new plaster casts and eventually switched over to a moon boot. Best. Decision. Ever! After that episode, I managed to get into a groove of housework. I finally am in a rhythm and can get through it all once a week if I do it before 8:30 am. I also (somehow!) managed to work my way through all the cupboards in my kitchen, sort through the contents and purge! I shopped my house (moved decor items from one room to another) and my kitchen is now a much happier place. I also FINALLY got to sorting my collected sensory tray materials into labelled tubs and tucked them in an easily accessible corner of my kitchen. I managed to wash the windows in the house! This all after my husband had returned to work! Go me! My husband has always helped with housework but now, he comes down to the kitchen to tackle the mess with me or we started a lovely new “tradition” of reading a book together while I wash dishes.

I had the privilege of being featured on the XXX Church’s blog -they speak to porn stars – and wrote a post for people who have just been told by their partners that they watch porn. It is such an honour to be involved in this ministry along with my husband. For more information, check out his page, Break Free.

 

My Toddler

She started lockdown doing 8 piece puzzles. I thought I’d put a bit more effort into teaching her how to do puzzles. But I really didn’t have to do much work. I just showed her how to start with faces and then move out from there. This technique has been really useful. I feel that this works better for her age than separating middle, side and corner pieces. Needless to say, we are now on 50 piece puzzles! (Don’t despair if your toddler is battling! Once they get to 12 piece puzzles, it’s like something clicks in their heads and they progress quickly from there.) She has also learnt that swings are not so scary and it’s hard to get her off now! She baked her first cake pretty much on her own! There is a great French cake (from Pamela Druckerman’s book Bringing Up Bebe) designed to be easy for kiddies to make and flippen’ delicious! We started a tradition of watching a movie as a family every Friday night on our bed once the baby has gone down. What a special time as we share in all the Disney movies that brought such joy and magic to my childhood. I may or may not have become tearful watching her face light up!

 

My Baby

She has probably made the most noticeable progress during these few weeks. She started lockdown with a handful of words. She has become proficient in the pronunciation of “hot” and can say it in context when she spies a cup of tea, steam from the stove and the heater. She has mastered the name of my friend’s son and regularly recites his name when she wakes up. As her sister did, she can say some form of the word “hadeda” (a given for any South African baby). She doesn’t often say any of our names but can if she tried. She loves the cat so “kitty” is also a regular. She has learnt our sign language for “water” which is great. She started standing one Sunday during our online service and after a service about three weeks later, took her first steps. (This is really making my mom’s heart sore missing all these milestones!) Her two front teeth have come out nicely and she acquired one more either side. Suddenly my baby doesn’t feel so small anymore!

 

Traditions with Friends

It all started with a Come Dine with Me: Lockdown Edition. It was so much fun! We had a delicious selection of mains – homemade vetkoek and curry, homemade pasta, herbed chicken and apple and veg combos and Vietnamese bowls. The selection of desserts included chocolate pots, carrot cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate and coconut delight and lemon meringue. Then, the nights ended off with hot drinks and a round of card games, funny drawings and, the most hilarious, bobbing for apples! We had so much fun (and so did the kids having “sleepovers and supper” at our house) that we decided to make our weekly meal share a dinner party with a good time next to a roaring fire afterwards (burning all our recycling!) The kids have had a blast playing together at the same time every day!

 

All in all, we have been truly blessed and lockdown has been easy.

 

But, I must confess that these last two weeks have taken their toll. We are all really missing our parents and longing to share cups of tea and laughs together again! May that not be far off!

 

We’re making history here, people! One day, we will remember this time in our lives and, I suspect, look on it with a degree of fondness, sad that we weren’t more grateful for the forced down time with family – an experience we are likely to never have again! So here’s my challenge to you! While it’s fresh in your mind, sit with a good cup of something hot and write down your experiences. One day, you can hand them on to your kids and, maybe in the distant future, some historian will pick it up, dust it off and put it behind glass in the Lockdown Museum!

 

What has your lockdown experience been? Let me know in the comments…

 

Photo Credit: Gustavo Fring

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