Home, not alone: Relaunch

Here we go again. Back in lockdown, Ruairi O'Duil reflects on how this time, we'll be better.

So, we couldn’t stick the landing and we’re heading for another go round. Melbourne is strapped in, masked up, locked down 

A combination of good luck, good leadership and sensible civic compliance saw an exceptional Australian response to the initial outbreak and our low numbers were the envy of the world. 

Our success in heading off the explosion in cases seen in the rest of the world meant that we got a bit complacent. We didn’t get how difficult to control and dangerous this psychopathic pathogen really is. Emerging from the cocoon of Lockdown #1, we couldn’t wait to spread our infection-free wings. We rushed to re-connect with those we’d missed and, because we ‘knew’ our rigour in isolating had kept us COVIDfree, we assumed that to be true of the wonderful people we love.  

And it may have been.  

For the first day. 

And then that became a lot less certain but we didn’t act like it was. 

Too many of us became complacent and this virus doesn’t care about your intentions, only your actions. Too many hugs and handshakes, too little distance, too few masks. 

And now the genie is out of the bottle again.  

And we’re locked inside. Again 

But we’re seasoned Isonauts now so this should be a space-walk. Floaty and spacey, far from everyone and covered in protective gear. 

I’m going to try to do it differently this time. 

This time, at least we know what we’re in for. What it’s going to be like.  

This time, we have a fair idea of how long we’re going to be in for.  

This time, we’ve had a good run up to it. The extra week of school holidays has been a help in giving The Dancer time to get his head around the fact that we have to do it all again.  

Five weeks of remote learning. We can do that. 

This time, The Dancer and I have set out to be nice to each other. To be softer, kinder. 

 

It took me a while, but I have realised that my worth as a parent isn’t reflected in whether I am successful in getting my child to put in the hours at his desk and complete the assigned tasks. It’s in safe-guarding the wellbeing of my child. 

Choosing responsibility

And in bluntly forcing him comply to the new rules, I wasn’t helping his wellbeing. 

So, for these five weeks, we’ll do it differently.  

I get, and really appreciate, the efforts of our schools and especially teachers in trying to navigate our kids through this new uncharted cosmos, but they’re just guessing, just like the rest of us. 

Sure, they’re the experts but, in this new era, faith in institutions telling us what to do is hard to sustain in light of the fact that, given how this is all so unusual, no one really knows anything. We need to step up and take responsibility for telling ourselves what to do. 

Teachers have come back with a better understanding and new ideas but I’m choosing to take responsibility and if that means that The Dancer chooses to engage piecemeal with the formal program then we’ll find ways to work around that.  

He’s already asked to initiate another reflexology program and we’re both going to learn how to tile the Utility Room. Even I should be able to figure out how to make that about numeracy, measurement and area.  

Life is all Learn and Grow, Learn and Grow, but rarely do we get a chance to replicate the same set of circumstances on such a holistic scale as Lockdown #1 vs Lockdown #2. 

We certainly have an opportunity to reengage with distance learning from a new perspective with fresh eyes, more knowledge and perhaps a different approach, but for us parents as humans there is also an opportunity to try to do lockdown a bit better for ourselves too. 

For many of us, the wholesome resolutions of self-improvement and development in the time off (ha!) of isolating were drowned in the quotidian tedium and the fear energy of security and survival. It’s hard to self-actualise when you’re stuck at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid. 

This time, it feels different. Strengthened by the knowledge that we’ve survived this before and perhaps even pushed on by the guilt of the previous missed opportunity, we can, instead of choosing pain behaviours of procrastination and inconsistency, choose wellness behaviours like following through consistently on selfcare and development.  

What do you need? 

So, we get to go around again.  

It certainly doesn’t feel normal, but it’s starting to become routine.

 

About Ruairi O'Duil

Ruairi O’Duil is a Melbourne reflexologist and father who has been offering his insights into family life during the pandemic.

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