Half term in lockdown is a little like homeschool days, only the teenagers get up even later…
It’s half term, which means people are staying up late and sleeping in even more than on “school” days. The suggested timetable sent over by the secondary school – wake up at 7am, go for a shower, then a run, etc – has failed to inspire and home school hours for the teens usually start at around midday and do not in any way involve running. Even walking is a bit of an ask.
I have no idea what kind of schoolwork is being achieved. There are lists on the wall in daughter two’s room, but very few things on them seem to get crossed off. She occasionally watches a Louis Theroux programme and calls it ‘sociology’. I think she is doing stuff, but it’s hard to be certain. Daughter three has spoken of handing in assignments and is at work on four art projects.
Meanwhile, only son had a zoom catch-up just before half term which was highly entertaining, but slightly worrying. At one point only son started talking about the pixels on the zoom frame. His friend piped up: “You are such a nerd.” Only son replied: “How can you call me a nerd? You are literally the digital lead in the class. Snowflake.” I quickly muted the conversation.
The problem with zoom is that children who have been cooped up and cut off from their friends could basically say anything, given half the chance. Only son’s former best friend came on the call. He was sitting in his school uniform. “I’ve asked him why on Earth he is wearing it, mum,” said only son. Oh no. I checked the text message in chat. “It’s ok, mum. I’ve done a private message.” Phew. I didn’t even know you could do that and only son had only been on zoom for five minutes.
Only son is unlikely to be back at school until September. By then he will be completely unfiltered and a tech genius.
“Where do you want to go?” I said to the kids at the start of half term. Only son wants to go swimming and bowling. I have attempted dry swimming championships in the garden, but no-one wants to join in. Bowling should be easier. Only son has also devised a devilishly difficult game involving balls and spades. We are holding the World Championships this weekend.
The teens want to go to South Korea [for the K-pop] and Chinatown. The thought of another walk round the nearby golf course is losing any allure it ever had. One development of lockdown is that they’ve started taking a keen interest in the news, mainly because they are desperate to hear that concerts are back on again. I think they may have a long wait.
What they really need is to see their friends and family and a bereavement counsellor. In the interim we are just treading water, waking up each day to the realisation that the last few months have not been a dream and that their sister is not coming back. Every day is like reliving it all again. And if you are lucky enough to dream about her that only makes the waking up that much harder.
Talking to her friends is a way of keeping her alive, of having her still be here, although even when we don’t mention her, she is right there beside us, listening to everything we say. I keep talking to her as I did almost every day. “Can you believe you died?” I say. It simply can’t be true that someone so alive and vibrant and interesting could just cease to be.