The Gift of Time

So, we’re 10 days in to a 14 day family home isolation/quarantine period. A kid at day care has Covid and because children have terrible hygiene and are unreliable witnesses when it comes to figuring out where they’ve been and who they’ve spoken to, the whole day care had to close and all families have been put into quarantine.

Three weeks ago, if you had described this scenario, I would have shaken my head, laughed and told you it was hands down my worst nightmare. Actually hotel quarantine as a family was and is my worst nightmare but this would have been a close 2nd or 3rd.

But like so many things in life, the fear of it happening was worse than it actually happening. Of course there was some swearing and a LOT of feelings when we first got the calls and messages from daycare. It was fear of Thomas getting really sick, one of us getting sick, a friend of Thomas’ getting sick- basically everything we’d been afraid of for the last 19 months. What if Covid killed us or someone close to us that we loved?

I mean, we’ve been really lucky in Australia- in Sydney especially. We had a lockdown in March-May 2020 and then it lifted and things were relatively normal. We didn’t wear masks, socially distance (really) or get vaccinated. We were the lucky country. Covid happened in other places- China, Italy, the US, the UK, Melbourne. Everywhere but here. So we didn’t worry. We packed away our masks, used “the virus” as an excuse to work from home but still go to bars. We didn’t want to take the bus, because of “Covid” but had no problem sitting shoulder to shoulder at sporting events.

And then something happened.

After over a year of hearing horror stories from around the world about variants, long term Covid effects, deaths and illness, Covid finally came back to Australia. As Delta. And we locked down- hard. Suddenly every message from the government was about vaccination, suddenly we weren’t meant to be more than 5km from our doorstep.

And then the call came. COVID’s not just in your neighborhood, it’s at daycare with your child. The abstract disease that everyone fears, suddenly was in our lives.

After the initial moments of shock and fear, it turned to, well, a bit of swearing, and a bit more disbelief. What are we meant to do now?

Get tested and then do 14 days of isolation at home, as a family. No leaving the house, except in emergency. No, gelato Messina is not an emergency. No ducking out for a coffee, no running to the shops for milk. No picking up lunch or takeaway food. Nothing. It sounds pretty harsh. But here’s the thing.

It’s not that bad. For us at least. It’s been- actually, kind of – hmmmm fun, isn’t the right word- but interesting.

See, like most working parents, I realize we actually don’t see our child that much. I mean we wake up, get dressed, have the occasional melt down over what shoes to wear, drop him at daycare and pick him up 9 hours later, eat dinner, have another meltdown over a meal he loved last week but hates now, then dinner, bath, books and bed. The last ten days I’ve gotten to know the no longer tiny human I’ve created.

And he’s actually pretty cool. He’s not the baby that I spent all day with when I was on mat leave. He’s almost 5 and he sings Old Town Road and Uptown Funk. He’s absolutely crazy about all types of football. He asks to watch American Football highlights on YouTube, pretends to do the Haka because he loves watching New Zealand play rugby union, can’t wait for the NRL Grand Final because The Rabbitohs (his team) are playing, and he can name nearly all the players on his believed Liverpool football team. He can spend hours in the backyard playing pretend ThomasBall matches- a blend of every kind of football.

He asks smart and interesting questions about indigenous people and colonization. He loves making up games, and is so inquisitive. He’s also worked out his “please” face, is bossy and knows when he’s about to get in trouble. He loves watching videos of himself and has memorized the codes for both of our phones so he can play games when we’re not looking. He’s competitive when he plays Go Fish, and somehow reminds me of both of my parents, myself and Gary all at the same time. In short, he’s amazing (I think).

The last 10 days I’ve got to see and experience Thomas in all his glory. We’ve been together all the time as a family and seeing him literally 14 hours a day for the last 10 days. I’m Not going to lie and say it’s been all sunshine and roses. Spending 140 hours with a 3foot tall version of yourself is testing at times. Especially when that version of yourself is extra sassy. But it has been good. And something we’ll probably never do again. So I’m taking it as a gift.

The gift of time with my child before he goes to big school. The gift of being able to see the boy he’s becoming and the last few months of the baby he’s been. This isolation period won’t last forever, nothing ever does. And Thursday morning, we’ll be back to normal for a few weeks at least as he finishes his last 12 weeks at pre-school and prepares for kindergarten. Maybe that’s why this time feels so special and so hard but happy. everything is about to change and I’m ok with that – because life is a process of change. But it’s nice to be fully immersed in “before” one more time before the after.

I Did Another Thing!

On Aussie TV this time! It was super fun and such a laugh! I had a great time- although I do have a tiny issue with one of the team members. Watch the episode and see if you can figure out who and why!

You can watch the Episode on 7plus.com.au – it’s under The Chase Australia- episode 141- just look for my little face!

One Last Election Podcast!

I made my last (for now) appearance on the US of Ed Podcast- it was so much fun being a part of the election podcast series. A huge thank you to the US of Ed team for asking me to be a part of it. Honestly, I think I’ve gotten the hang of this whole media thing… TV, Radio, Podcasts…. if only someone would pay me for sharing my opinions with the world! Hopefully my final election media appearance was more successful than the Trump campaign’s… not a landscaping company or crematorium in sight on the podcast.

You can listen here to the last one (for now):

Whooshkaa: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=757187
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to stay up-to-date: http://apple.co/2t5Ettj

YES!!!!!!

Like most people, I’ve had so many emotions this week- and even today that I’m really struggling to make sense of- to make peace with, to be able to put into words. I think it will take a long time to fully digest and process all the things that happened this week– and I don’t just mean my two- 2!!!!- national television appearances. You can see one of them here- on the ABC Q+A Website, https://iview.abc.net.au/video/NN2016H119S00. They also highlighted it as their “hard question of the week.”

I don’t have a link to the other appearance, only a video of me watching myself with a small, curious voice in the background.

Yet another Podcast was released (https://youtu.be/ZqpentdsHuo) and I did 2 live Election Day crosses for the radio show.

But that’s obviously not the biggest news of the week. The biggest is Election Night/Week and it’s outcome. And I’m a bit lost for words. I’m thinking about so many diferent things.

There’s 4 year old excited me- the one that remembers crossing the street to go to the school auditorium one November morning to watch her Mom vote for Geraldine Ferraro.  I think that little girl had finally been given her first Barbie Doll- Day to Night Barbie, and knew on some level that it was a big deal to vote for a woman.  Or maybe she knew that voting for President was a big deal no matter who was on the ticket.

Then there’s me in school, dreading the first day attendance since inevitably I knew that the teacher would get to my name and pause.  I always thought- If I can pronounce it, why can’t they? Now we’ll have a Vice President who knows what it is like, to have to literally spell out/sound out her name for people. I get it, she gets it, that’s awesome.

Then there’s me who is interested in politics, studying political science and American history, learning about elections and the electoral college.  Believing, trusting that the 200+ year system always gets it right.   Learning about political institutions and checks and balances and how it all works.

And 20 year old me, reading about hanging chads and learning that the system can be flawed, and doesn’t always represent the will of the people.  And a year later seeing how one election can lead to one moment that can change everything in the world.

8 years later there was 28 year old me watching, hopeful, crying with joy and disbelief as Barack Obama became the first Black President.  Feeling energized and excited about the possibilities of America and a President who was friends with Oprah and Jay-Z and was smart, funny, cool…. and Black.  But also terrified for him and his family because I knew that there were dark, awful parts of America.

Flash forward to 36.  Me- pregnant and thinking the world was pregnant with the possibility of the first female president.  So much excitement and so much anticipation.  So much optimism— all crushed while watching the election results come in.  I was sitting with a friend at home, while my Mom sat in a room full of strangers.  I called her looking for comfort and answers- “why, what and how”.   For one of the only times in my life, my mother didn’t have the answer.  No one did, I don’t know if we do even now. Crying, shocked, speechless, disbelief. How could this happen? What did it all mean? What is wrong with people?

And now this week.  What was I feeling?  Everything.  All of the above plus fear of what might happen.  Fear of the results, fear of the reaction, fear of the future.  I spoke up, I spoke out, I tried to rally troops, I tried to do something, anything from here.  Was it enough?  Did it matter?  How would we know?  When would we know?  What might happen either way?

And today, a breakthrough.  Maybe not an end, but the beginning of the end.  A sense of relief, a sense of hope- and dare I say, Joy!  Joy that we’ve elected the first female Vice President, the first Vice President of Colour, the first of many things….  Joy that even though a LOT of people voted differently than I did, which I don’t fully understand– more people voted with me. Voted for unity, voted for science, voted for cohesion, and for love of what we have in common not what separates us.

It’s an odd mix of feelings- pride, relief, joy mixed with worry, surprise and fear.   I’m so pleased with the result and hope that my minuscule contribution maybe played a teeny, tiny part.  I doubt it– but isn’t that the great thing about voting and democracy– when we all do our teeny, tiny part, great big things can happen. There’s a huge part of me that is ecstatic and feels excited and energized for what the future holds. I haven’t popped champagne yet, there is a small bottle of Moet in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m waiting for but I’m happy and thankful that I have something to celebrate this time around! Thank you America for getting it right this time!