The world listened intently to the news of a new virus making its way across the continents. We sat quietly in our home wondering if and when it would hit South Africa. And so, on Monday March 23rd it was announced that we would be placed on total lockdown that Thursday.
The country went into a mad flurry, stockpiling essentials, food items and yes, wine and whiskey for us :) Understandably so, your dad and I were in a state of shock. We’ve never lived through something like this and honestly didn’t know what was coming. It seemed surreal, as if we were living through some apocalyptic movie.
Those first 30 days of being locked in our homes were honestly a little traumatic. Too afraid to step out, knowing that it was against the law. Worrying about your uncle, who was stuck in Nigeria, unable to get home. Listening to news reports on how people were being arrested for daring to venture out. And watching truck loads of army servicemen and women roll in to keep citizens in “check”.
E-commerce and social media exploded with a new sense of purpose; as people needed to find “socially distant” ways of earning an income, educating their children, and keeping in touch with family and friends spread across the globe.
I sat in our warm and comfortable home, thankful. Thankful that we had made the decision to homeschool you all a few months earlier. Which meant that we “escaped” the sudden trauma of pulling you out of your schools and extra-murals. In a way we were able to peacefully enter into the lockdown period without too much disruption – for you 5. Thankful that your dad and I still had our jobs – even though your dad did take a major salary cut. Which meant that we could continue to provide and care for all of you in a time when many families faced financial ruin.
As the world panicked, you were totally unaware of what was going on. And I’m pleased we made the choice to keep it from you as long as we could. Our daily routines continued as normal, our school days were the same, and as we tucked you into bed each night, fear gripping our hearts because of the unknown, again, I was thankful that you weren’t unnecessarily anxious about something that was totally out of your control.
I remember the day we finally decided to sit you all down to tell you about the THE VIRUS like it was yesterday… I could see your curious little minds starting to reel, and the questions that flowed kept us busy for a good hour. Asking you all to choose what kind of mask you wanted, and explaining in depth how careful we had to be. I clearly remember you all saying that the one thing you missed was church, your home away from home. A safe haven for you all since birth. We could, for the first time, totally relate to that feeling of longing. We missed our community!
Today marks 100 days since the beginning of lockdown, and I wanted to write this piece so we can all look back one day and share our memories of what this time was like. So we can “take stock”, be reminded of the lessons learnt, tell our stories of gratitude and heartache, laugh (hopefully) about masked adventures to the shops, and re-commit ourselves to hearing the plight of those in need and helping as much as we can those who are most vulnerable.
So, on this day, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your patience (even on the days when you were unable to express your frustrations). Thank you for your bravery, thank you for being so understanding when week after week you are unable to enjoy your extra-curricular activities, visit with family and friends or pop out to enjoy an adventure.
Your dad and I are so proud of you! You will be growing up in a very different environment to what we had envisioned for you. The results of this COVID-19 lockdown will remain long after we have our “freedom” back. You will grow up in an era when yet another virus turned the world on its head, spoken about for decades to come. But know this one thing, your bravery, your agility to go with the flow, to embrace our new normal and still be the happy and loving children that you are, brings us so much joy.
Love Mommy and Pappa