Days in Lockdown: 19

Pinch, Punch, First Day of the Month”.

Well I pinched myself first thing this morning, quickly realised this wasn’t just a bad dream or some awful, cruel April Fools trick, and immediately felt like punching myself hard in the face.

19 Days.

For Archie that’s 19 days with no interaction with another child, other than through his computer screen.

Next week is the Easter Break. Usually a wonderful time here is Spain with festivals galore, including the Los Alcazares Incursiones Berberiscas. More commonly known by Ex-pats as the Los Alcazares Pirates, it is a festival straight out of the history books, with a pirate invasion, medieval market, shows and theatrical re-enactments. This year we were privileged and excited to have been invited to visit a friends ‘peña’ – an organised group that are involved in the festival with their own pirate encampment and a part in the re-enactments. Archie was particularly looking forward to that. But instead it will be another two weeks without leaving the house or seeing his friends.

By the end of the Easter ‘break’, he will have been completely house and garden bound for more than 5 weeks. No trips to the shop or time outside to ‘exercise’ for him. And with the lockdown in Spain now extended to restricting all work to essential activities only, I very much doubt the Easter Bunny will pay him a visit either.

So, I was really pleased when a friend this week shared this wonderful idea - The Jar of What We Can’t Wait to Do. Basically you take a jam jar or similar, decorate it if you so wish, and then each time your child is missing an activity that they would normally enjoy, you write it on a piece of paper and pop into the jar, with the promise that once all this is over, you’ll take it out of the jar, and do it.

I see absolutely no reason why this can’t be extended to the adults in the family. Although depending on what activities you can’t wait to do, you may want to use a separate jar…

So far Archie has placed in his jar: See My Friends, Go to the Beach, Buy an Ice Cream and Visit Grandad.

Jo and I have jointly added: Sip Chilled Wine on the beach, Eat at Our Favourite Restaurant and Invite All Our Friends, Old and New, Around for Paella and a Party.

But I’m also considering creating a second jar; my ‘What I Don’t Want to Do Again for a Very Long Time’ jar. I will immediately be adding, Going to the Bins, Binge Watching Yet Another Netflix Boxset, Shopping Whilst Wearing a Mask and Plastic Gloves and Singing Happy Birthday Whilst Washing My Hands.

After a little more considered thought into this, we also added Decline an Invitation from Friends and Squander Free Time.

As a parent I’m finding these times difficult. The images of, hopefully, a minority of people in the UK flouting or just downright ignoring the rules makes me incredibly mad. And if I’m brutally honest with myself, jealous at the same time. I would love us as a family to jump in the car, take Archie to the beach, and run across the sand with the sun on our backs. Maybe I could just say we are out shopping or exercising (actually that wouldn’t work here in Spain as that’s not allowed). Or perhaps I could convince and justify it to myself that the rules simply just don’t apply to us (“it’s only us and there’s no one else around, so what’s the problem?”). After all I simply want my son to be happy, and to make him happy.

But above that it’s my role to keep him safe and well. So, for now we’ll just keep filling that jar.

Please Stay Home and Stay Safe.

Whatever you choose to put in your jars, that time will come.

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