This is not a holiday (a letter for Amelie)

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So, Amelie-boo, we have come to the country for the lockdown! You’re only three as I write this, so you have no idea how lucky we are that this is an option for us. But trust me – we are very fortunate to be here. To be here, and to be safe, and to be well.

I know this is confusing for you though! Usually when we’re here we’re on holiday, and right now we’re – well, we’re very much not on holiday. It’s amazing having so much time up here but you think it would be great if we could go to the cafe or the beach or the playground. You’re very understanding though. It both amazes me and breaks my heart in equal quantities to hear you say that we can’t do something “because of the virus”. Your voice goes down a notch and you speak with this resigned, empathetic tone. I’m so proud of you for understanding so well, and accepting this current reality!

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We’re all trying to accept this current reality. We’re also trying – and I would say we are succeeding! – to take this as seriously as you do. Nobody wants this lockdown to go on for longer than it has to, or to have to be repeated if we can’t get this virus under control. It may mean we’re not going anywhere further than the end of our road, but those family country walks are pretty great, aren’t they?

Guilty as I feel saying this, there’s a lot about this that I’m finding pretty great, to be honest. I’m loving spending so much time with you. You’re a very cool kid, did you know that? And I’m so delighted that the feeling seems to be mutual. I thought you’d miss your friends and teachers a lot, and I think you do, but it’s nice to hear that you’re enjoying spending so much time with us. Thankfully, as a preschooler, you do tend to be quite blunt when something is not to your liking, so I don’t think you’re just trying to spare our feelings.

I’m sorry that we’re not always being the best parents we can be. We’re both trying to hold down two busy jobs while we look after you! It’s so great that we both still have jobs, but, well, it’s a lot. So many Zoom calls, so many snacks…as everybody is right now, we are just taking this one day at a time and trying to do our best on any given day. Thank you for being so forgiving of us when we don’t get it right, or we are on yet another video call.

(You pop up in so many of my video calls I think you might actually be employed by the Museum now, just by default. It’s very cute how you love jumping in to say hi to my colleagues, and I think (hope) you help brighten up their days too).

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I’m pleased that we’re all making the best of this situation and that we’re having such a lovely time, all things considered. It may not be a holiday, but we are so happy being here. I knew we loved this place, but I always thought we loved it at least in part as a contrast to our busy city life. However, now that we are here for how long? and working from here for who knows how long? and we are unable to do anything but just be here I can see I was wrong. This place is good for us, and this time is proving to be good for us too. For me, I feel that being forced to slow down and appreciate what we have in our little family is turning out to be something I might have really needed. And I’m so grateful to you for the part you’re playing in this realisation. And also your dancing…thank goodness for your dancing. I don’t know how anyone is surviving this time without your dancing, to be honest. You’re hilarious and awesome and you’re making everything so much easier than it might have been. And as soon as we can relax and go into something more approaching a holiday mode we will!

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