Sometimes I wonder where time goes. I wake up and see myself with 2 weeks to go back to London and can’t quite put my finger on where time went. Yes, we used our time wisely, we went to different places and continued to enjoy this newly found time as a family, protecting it from too many external influences. But time flew-by more than during lockdown, and perhaps almost as much as any other time in London. Maybe I had hoped Lisbon would make time go slowly, but it seems like the day also only has 24 hours here.
A new form of attachment
Last night, Little Girl C was nervous, anxious even. She is attending a surf camp this week, 9 to 5, or something along those lines. She had asked to join weeks ago and has been asking about it since her first surf lesson earlier in July, but last night, she was fearful. As she sneaked into my bed at bedtime and asked for a “private conversation” I knew she was struggling. She hugged me and said:
Mummy, how will I spend a week without you?
I wanted to jump and down, but instead I normalized it for her.
Babe, that is how school will be, you will also be going 9 to 5 and I will be working, even when I work from home
This attachment was not something she had before, and to be honest with you, it is somewhat healthy. The first time she slept over at my sister at age 2, my sister called only to say she had not asked for me once. We raised her to be independent and independent she was. Bummer.
But during lockdown, she found a new way of attachment. One that feels warm and fuzzy rather than one that threatens her deepest insecurities. One that makes her want to (for once) stay home rather than wonder the world looking for the next thing. I wonder if it will help her form bigger attachments, friendships and relationships in life.
A new form of expression
Last week, the kids had yet another sleepover at the cousins. It was the first of the Covid-19 era, and I know I postponed it beyond possibility. As I arrived, Little Girl C was happy to see me (phew), but immediately checked if we were staying for dinner (it was 2 pm). Somethings never change.
On the other hand, as Baby S (or Little Boy S rather) saw me, he hanged on to me for the next 40 minutes. He chatted, he caressed my face to make sure I was there, he hugged me and asked if the four of us could go home, he asked me to play and stay with him. All children have different personalities, granted. But Baby S has also developed a new way of expressing himself.
I like PDA* no doubt. And he has found encouragement in expressing himself sweetly and kindly. Yes, he has also learnt a few moments of anger, but more than anything else he used a lot of his time at home to just hug everyone and express how he felt about them. And for those leaving, he does not hesitate
“You will miss me.”Full stop, no question mark
A new form of time
Being lock down at home meant for once I could control time. For the first time in more years than I could remember, I had time. I found time to work as before, do charity, be with family, have meals together, do puzzles, new activities, do my writing, my journaling, all that I could think of, I was virtually able to do. And I even launched a podcast. I was amazed I had found the time to do it so smoothly.
As I find myself back to a more normal life, when sometimes I am supposed to go out, meet people, see family, all that good stuff (no irony intended), my time has shrunk. I have struggled to find moments to write (half past midnight now), I have struggled to find moments to journal (often 3-5 days late on my gratitudes), I have yet again struggled to find moments to exercise other than my morning yoga, or I have struggled to find time and strategise or plan my podcast in advance. I end up feeling overwhelmed doing exactly the same as I was doing 2 months ago, without the puzzles and many of the family activities.
Now, I don’t want lockdown back. I recognise one should not have to lock me down for me to feel better about my time commitments. But, at the same time, I do want that concept of time back. One that I control, one that I feel no rush, one that for better or worse, in normalized times, there is so much I can do without feeling on the edge at all times (and never getting to sleep 7 hours).
Last weekend, I stopped time. On Saturday, against all odds, we went to spend a day in my favourite beach and one of my favourite places on earth – Praia Grande. Against all odds because the weather was absolutely dreadful in most places except there and it is usually quite the opposite. Sintra is where the winter goes for the summer so they say. And, as such, I had not yet had a chance to go there to enjoy a day at the beach. As every year has happened, that day has arrived and it reached a 10 out of 10, which is a rare event in an over-achiever’s scale.
I wonder what makes it feel like that and I know it is the feeling that I need nothing else while I am sitting there. I have no FOMO, no FOBO, no other acronym that demonstrates the search of anything else. There is sun, sea, friends, family. All in a random order that aligns like the stars never align. There is time for playing, eating, talking and more of that. And there is time to watch the sunset for one last moment before getting in the car. As you think the day is over there is still time to dive into the pool after dusk and finish the day with yet another meal with friends. It is like you don’t need or want to go anywhere else. Ok, maybe at some point I wanted to go to sleep, but that’s it.
The Fear is Real
I fear this will only disappear. And I fear the emotions, feelings and attachments were all but a forced product of something that will (hopefully) never happen again. I find myself doubting. Doubting myself and how much I will hold on to these newly found emotions or attachments – too much or too little. Time was abundant for a few months. It is flying now. What happens on the other side?
* Public Demonstrations of Affection