Day: 45. After a fair bit of consultation, A and I decided it was definitely Thursday today. It's hard to tell. Mood: low. Slow going. My friends and I, we get through the difficult times by lighting torches. Planning things to look forwards too. The big things, holidays, weekends away, perhaps even coinciding respite so we can run away together. The littler things; a night's respite, an afternoon walk, a day playing hooky with both children in school. An hour alone in a cafe, a haircut. These are the little things we hang onto when times are tough; just another few hours and then respite. Another night and then school. Another week and then we will be together again.
And all this has ended.
It's not the toughness of every day, it's the knowing that tomorrow will be the same. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
There can be phone calls, sure. And video calls. And there are wonderfully kind friends and organisations sending so many lovely things; friends dropped in a picture made by their children this morning, with a home made bookmark and a pipe cleaner bracelet and a lovely dear little bar of soap. Sweet, kind, thoughtful. Different friends dropped a survival package on the doorstep yesterday, with toys for the boy and magazines for the girl and gin for me, lovely. There are flowers in my windowsill, there are smiles and waves as people pass by. We are not forgotten. Statutory authorities are checking up on us too, making sure that we know we are not forgotten. We are among the lucky ones who get a regularly food delivery slot, and we get 99% of what we order, week after week after week. This is all good. Very good. Friends keep us ticking over, collecting glasses to be mended, finding glue sticks and antacids and all the things we forget to add to the shopping list. We have very good friends.
Coronavirus briefing yesterday, a question was asked by the parent of a child who is, like A, shielding at the moment. And Matt Hancock answered initially with a load of positive noises about how children with EHCPs would be supported within education once the schools go back. Before admitting that, no, children who were shielding would not be going back to school any time soon; would not in fact be going anywhere at all until there is a vaccine. We knew that already really; the risk doesn't disappear just because twelve weeks have magically passed since we got The Letter, informing us of our shielding status and our new normal. But we were halfway through our twelve weeks. And even though we knew really it wouldn't change after that, it felt significant, that maybe there was a bit of hope for things to be different.
And so we trudge on. Time takes on a new meaning. A has her own internal clock, informing me to the minute when she expects her next cooked meal to be placed in front of her. It's probably a good thing; I'd lose track of mealtimes as well as days otherwise. People knock at the door, and we stand a safe distance apart as they collect or deliver; today we traded three face masks for half a dozen eggs and several yards of knicker elastic, destined to be made into more masks. These moments are precious; a three minute conversation in the rain where we used to have several hours over coffee. D cannot understand why he is no longer allowed to run out of the front door, why people knock but never enter, and why he can never leave. He drags me to the back garden instead, where we do some stomping circuits on the rain-wet decking, and send showers of spray and damp blossom (and please no hairy caterpillars) flying by swinging in the apple tree. He likes the back garden. A has not left her table in the sitting room except to go to bed or for personal care for a week now. She has decided she no longer likes the garden. I make a note to order her an extra vitamin D supplement since she insists the curtains are drawn if there is even a hint of sunlight approaching her table.
Post today. D's autism assessment has been postponed indefinitely. A cannot have her eyes checked. Urgent gastroenterology and dietician appointments have been delayed. Blood tests cannot take place. Dentist is looking unlikely. Podiatry has stopped. A multitude of other appointments have been cancelled, turned into phone appointments, or pushed back a few months with the acknowledgement that they will likely be pushed back further. Routine ones, new referrals, nothing (hopefully) life or death, but all appointments designed to keep both children ticking over and as healthy as they can be. And yet within all that, D's preschool boosters are due, and of all the appointments we have, these should apparently not be delayed. Well they're going to have to be; I am not taking him to the GP surgery this week or next.
And now the house is silent at last. Children sleeping sweetly, and we can hope they might both last the night. My work is done for now, until she needs turning and he needs milk. But for now, peace. Tomorrow is another day. Tonight I can't see how it can be any better, or really any different. But it might be. Let's hang onto that.