The sun is out. We have a long bank holiday weekend, so the sun has obviously gone back in again. But we’re all in a slightly different place than we were a year ago – only slightly, mind you.
I remember home schooling Bryan a year ago, and I remember working through most of the holiday; there wasn’t really much else for us to do in terms of being able to go anywhere. This year, Bryan is thrilled at being able to go to a local holiday club for a few days so I can work and then focus on him on the other days; he’ll be thoroughly sick of me by the end of this fortnight, but the chocolate he gets should see him through.
We’re doing a series of Easter Egg hunts this year, because it’s fun, takes up some time, and Bryan seems to look forward to them. Perhaps it’s just the reward of chocolate he looks forward to, but who knows; I try and make things interesting for him. He actually has four Easter Egg hunts; one that I’ve set him, one with his nan and granddad, one with his siblings over Zoom, and one with our neighbours – he’s absurdly excited by them, and that does rub off on me. Easter was never something I was particularly interested in (I’m not religious) but seeing things through the eyes of a child does change your perspective on life.
In fact, Bryan has shown me a new perspective on a lot of things; his interests evolve over time and he is fascinated by so many different parts of the calendar and life. We have developed our own routines without realising it, and he sometimes asks to do something – a treasure hunt, or a movie night – because that’s what we do as a family. It’s brilliant to have someone as full of life reminding you what’s important.
What I’ve also noticed with Bryan is how his personality has evolved; we have a very close relationship (which I am thankful for) and, when he first moved home, I was the only person he knew down in this neck of the woods. As a result, he relied on me for a lot of emotional comfort and reassurance; that’s the role of a parent, of course, and I will continue to do that until the end catches up with me. But he now also has a network of love surrounding him; his family, both here in person and further afield, and his friends. Bryan doesn’t need to spend every single second with me, because – I hope – he is reassured that I will always be there for him and because he has others in his life too. He spends six hours a day at school, he spends time with his nan and granddad, and he talks to his brother and sister on Zoom very regularly. This has become the new normal for him.
In a sense, I’m thankful for the past year; it’s given us a chance to strengthen and deepen our bond and helped me figure out a way to change my own lifestyle that worked for us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as keen as anyone to enjoy lunch in a cafe, go to the cinema, and play on the arcades, but the last year has given Bryan and I something special – time to breathe and figure out more interests that we can explore. He loves arts and crafts far more than he ever did beforehand, he is more confident, and I am more confident in my ability as a parent; that’s not to say I don’t doubt myself regularly, but that’s just part of life.
So thank you, lockdown, for helping us figure all of that out … but we are also looking forward to saying goodbye.