This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Actually I might be alone now but I have not been lonely in lockdown.
I wish I could say I have been as inspirational as BackPacking Granny. She has read half a library, learned Spanish, done ballet each day with the Silver Swans (who knew?) and is probably more flexible than I am due to daily Yoga. And she has been in complete isolation.
I was incredibly lucky in that for the first 8 weeks of lockdown I had my eldest son home with me. He came home for a few days before Mothering Sunday and then stayed. I feel totally blessed to have had this time with him and will look back on this period with huge fondness – 8 weeks with him I would never otherwise had had. He left to live in London 7 years ago and though we talk/text etc nearly every day this extra time was very speciasl.
It might have tripled my grocery bills due to the fact at 6ft tall he still seems to have the same hollow legs he had as a teenager.
We bought crisps, chocolate and biscuits (normally NEVER in the house) my friend delivered us a cake each week and in the beginning we got through copious amounts of red wine. This changed as the weather improved to gallons of icy white wine – gin and vodka.
We binge watched TV! We watched all the Harry Potters together, all 9 seasons of Suits (swoon) and he introduced me to Marvel/Avengers filmis which I I thought I’d hate but I didn’t. We watched, in strange fascination, Tiger King like everyone else.
He was still working making Zoom calls for hours each day whilst I brought him copious cups of tea. It was a revelation to hear this articulate intelligent professional, gorgeous man that I gave birth to, doing business with with colleagues in London and New York. Even if half the time he was in pyjamas from the waist down!
We did a twice weekly online quiz and boy we got quite good. I was astounded by some of his knowledge and even he admitted my general knowledge and music skills were awesome. We became known as the Marvellous Mrs. M & Son. It was such good fun.
The closest we came to a quarantine quarrel was when I was making Easter bonnets because each quiz had a theme (think daffodils and creme eggs). I heard him in the kitchen making supper and I dashed in to find the whole packet of pasta had been emptied in the water for just two of us.
We won the quiz on our last evening together.
My son had his birthday in lockdown. I contacted lots of friends to ensure he had loads of cards arriving on the day. I arranged a fabulous cake and we had plenty of champagne. The weirdest part was when I invited his father and brother over and they came. We all sat in the garden in the beautiful sunshine. More champagne was consumed and the boys left me and the ex having deep and meaningful conversations. Apart from when he came to tell me he was marrying again, about 18 months ago, we have hardly seen each other in the last 8 years so this was pretty monumental. We covered so much without breaking open old wounds.
He apologised for how things had ended and actually said he will always love and care about me, which obviously made me cry. But I finally felt some ‘closure’ and it was really good for the boys to see us talking and he even suggested maybe we could all meet up again some time. This would be seriously weird seeing him wearing a wedding ring again.
The day after his birthday I drove my eldest son back up to London and was stunned to see the streets so empty. It was a surreal trip. I then thought I would cry all the way home but I didn’t. Then I thought I would crash when I got home but I didn’t.
On Backpacking Granny’s advice I had reorganised my small but perfectly formed kitchen. The shelves that held cookery books were now cleared and I emptied out some of my crockery cupboards to make way for all the extra food we were buying. On the shelf I now have two plates, bowls, glasses, tumblers and mugs, the teapot and milk jug. Just the essentials. The sight of these I thought would make me sad as we had drunk so many cups of tea whilst binge watching TV but it actually made me smile.
I gave quite a few tins of soup and baked beans to the local food bank. Like many others I have probably put on the ‘Corona Stone’ in weight.
Son overheard me talking to my line manager. I confessed to her that I had hoped to emerge from lockdown like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Unfortunately I now feel like a drunken walrus. This might become an issue as I wear a uniform at work. The prospect of being take out of furlough in the next few weeks fills me with dread. I have half-heartedly done a few Joe Wicks workouts but my alcohol consumption has clearly outweighed any good I was doing despite daily dog walks of well over an hour.
Anway Son has now been gone for three weeks and a week ago I took myself in hand and have started a 30 day health and fitness programme. No booze, healthy eating, copious litres of water and daily workouts. I have lost 5.5lbs in my first week and I feel amazing. My mojo is back.
Shopping today as I do every week for myself and BackPacking Granny I now wear a mask. There was a rather attractive man in the same aisle as me, perusing the prawns, yawning away and looking generally bored. I chuckled to myself and caught his eye. I said, “I am laughing here, behind my mask.” I went on to say, “Actually I could be doing anything here behind my mask and you’d never know.” He replied, “Actually I did know. Your whole face lit up and your eyes smile”.
Who knew you can flirt in a mask? I am just thinking of the fortune I will be saving in lipstick.