annoushka shares her new normal
It’s hard to believe that it’s been just four weeks since we were asked to isolate ourselves from everything we have taken for granted; and simply watch the news every evening reporting on events that were utterly unthinkable only a few weeks ago.
Having been brought up as an only child and having worked for myself from the age of 25, I have always been very independent and empowered by the idea that I’m in charge of my own destiny. The last few weeks have reminded my family and I, that we are all at the mercy of much bigger forces.
Since lock-down my immediate family of six have been together at our family home in West Sussex. It’s the house that we’ve lived in for twenty-five years and where my husband John and I raised our four children; the oldest being 26 the youngest 18. We are very lucky to have plenty of space, a garden which we all love spending time in and two adorable French Bulldogs; but the truth is we have not been together at home for this amount of time for almost ten years. The last extended period was between businesses when the children were little and if you read my last blog, you’ll know that 18 months was all I could manage of that. Now we’re all adults with independent lives and yet we find ourselves together, with no outside distractions, other than social media and family-to-family Zoom meetings and obviously absolutely no one else coming and going.
One of the things I have always loved about our home, is that no two days are ever the same nor what we would expect them to be! Having four children seems to bring with it a stream of visitors; someone popping by for a coffee, lunch or just dropping something off, which inevitably ends up with a long chat in the kitchen, or an impromptu Friday night supper in the garden. As an only child, it has taken a long time to get used to so much noise and bustle. There’s no doubt that all being here together brings back some of my foibles and I’m having to find new ways to be patient and find my own personal space.
The others seem to have none of that angst; quite used to being part of the pack!! It’s surprising how quickly everyone has found their own rhythm, each one very different, but not siloed off. Exercise seems to be the common thread, the thing that marks the start of each day and brings togetherness; it’s lovely to see different family members teaming up to do something like gym, yoga, walking the dogs or taking a bike ride. It really has allowed me to reflect on how wonderful and lucky we are to have a family that care for each other and genuinely look out for one another. It seems this time has forced us together in a quiet way and allowed us to listen and observe each other, to understand ourselves and those closest to us in a way that the usual pace of life just doesn’t allow. Our togetherness, whilst bonding in many ways does remind me of my own vulnerabilities and the times I’ve felt shaken by what the world has thrown at us. When the “real-world” as we know it stops turning, we have the space to tune into what’s happening beneath the surface of our lives and the way we’re living. That reflection can be hard—but I also see it as an opportunity for betterment, but only time will tell.
As we all hang in limbo, not quite knowing what the next few weeks or months will bring, I’m struck by the opportunity we have to learn about ourselves, our family, friends and communities. I hope that I might be more patient and forgiving, that I might have found the time to tidy my cupboards and improved my drawing—small but important things to me.
BEING A MOTHER
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