We’re free! Well, sort of. I haven’t left the house (other than hospital appointments and our walks) since before this lockdown started so being able to go and sit in my parents garden feels more exciting than 2 weeks in the Caribbean right now. Today I’m going to drive to the supermarket, you can’t imagine how much I’m looking forward to that. I have been meaning to go all week but the sleep deprivation has caught up with me.
Did I mention we’ve had our baby? If you’re in our WhatsApp group you’ll know she arrived safe and sound just over a fortnight ago. I’m overjoyed not to be pregnant during this heatwave but I’d forgotten how tough lack of sleep can be. The first few days were fine. We were running on adrenaline and ‘look how cute she is’. By about day 5 we hit a wall. And, of course, Covid added it’s own complicated layer. My parents live close to us and my mum was going to come down and help around the house in the first few weeks. But she can’t. It’s making our parents crazy. They are desperate to see us and to be supportive but all we’ve got is FaceTime and, now, socially distant garden visits.
So you can imagine the joy in this house when our church family stepped into that gap. For a week, dinner has arrived on our (socially distant) doorstep at 6pm every day. I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to not have to think about food, to have it just appear when your kid is starting to get hungry. We’ve had the brain power to focus on keeping our house going, getting into a routine of washing nappies and baby clothes every day (seriously, how does something so small create so much washing!), settling The Zoo (the collective term for our 4 cats and 2 greyhounds) and restarting homeschooling (we took a week off when the baby arrived, it’s hard to concentrate on Maths homework when your new baby sister has finally arrived).
I’m reminded of Aaron and Hur, holding Moses’ arms during the battle with the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his arms, Joshua’s army was winning. When Moses tired, Aaron and Hur held his arms up for them. At this moment in our lives, holding up our arms is getting difficult. We’ve been virtually locked in our homes since the 23rd of March. We can only see our families and support network through phone and laptop screens. It’s no wonder we’re seeing people’s mental health take a dip.
But in this crisis there are people holding up our arms. I can’t praise the midwives and NHS higher. Despite having to completely change how they care for pregnant women, I never felt alone. Even though my husband couldn’t be with me during the induction (and missed the birth because Speedy Gonzales was too impatient to wait for him) the hospital staff took the time to talk to me and regularly check in on me. When we got home our families and friends have found ways to support us from a distance. And our church family stepped in to help us.
You know the Mr Rogers quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Maybe you don’t, it’s a very American reference. Google it though, he’s the wholesome content we need right now. Anyway, back to my point. This quote is spread online in times of crisis and it’s never been more relevant today. There are so many helpers round about us, so many Aaron’s and Hur’s. It’s easy to get bogged down in data, how many people are infected, how many people have died, how many people in my area have caught this virus. How about we focus on how many people we have held up in this time of crisis. You can start with our family.
I wanted to write something that wasn’t so focused on myself and my family but I got sidetracked (not a huge surprise if you know me, my attention tends to wander). I’m writing in my kitchen and the dishes our dinners came in are waiting on the table for me to contact their owners and arrange their return. I can’t thank you enough, and not just for feeding us when we were too burst to think straight. But for praying for us and for supporting us. Our arms were tired but thanks to the people around us we can lift them again and get back to finding our own new normal.