Today marks the one year anniversary of Little H’s school closing due to the start of the covid-19 pandemic. One whole year since my little girl’s final “normal” day in her Reception class; the final day where I was able to pick her up without standing in a socially distanced queue at the school gates with a mask. How has it been a year? Yet also, what on earth did it feel like before? I feel like I don’t remember living without being on alert for others, checking I have a mark and hand gel, making the girls wash their hands.
There has been talk in the media of the approaching anniversary of lockdown on 23 March and when it’s been mentioned I haven’t felt particularly affected. But as I mentioned back then, the closure of the schools and nurseries was something I found very hard so the anniversary of that, well that has stirred up some memories. I still remember the raw emotion on the faces of many teachers as they said goodbye to their students indefinitely; the feeling of uncertainty in the air; the mix confusion and glee (at the prospect of “no school”) on the faces of the children.
I don’t think of any of us expected we’d still be in a strict lockdown 365 days later. I know I didn’t.
The country (and the world) has suffered so much. I have found the last year a bizarre experience of extremes – in so many ways one of the hardest of years, but also one which has blessed so many unique experiences with my girls. There are also so many more heavily impacted by me, such as those working in the hospitals and those who have lost loved ones. But whilst things are still difficult in England now, all these months later, it feels like there is light on the horizon.
Schools are back (hopefully for good now). In a few weeks we will hopefully be able to meet family outdoors. After Easter I have a provisional haircut booking and the girls can hopefully return to their extra-curricular classes. They have tolerated so much this last year and with so much grace. The world owes children a huge debt for doing what was needed with far less complaint than most adults. Then by mid-May we may be able to meet with family indoors. So much could still go wrong; after the last year I daren’t yet hope. But this is the most positive position it feels we’ve been in so far.
And for now, it’s time to enjoy the signs of Spring and get the seed potatoes planted.