Updated: Apr 6, 2020
By now we are all settling into our bubbles and I can't help but think about how different the world is when my 6 month old moko has already been witness to a measles epidemic and a Covid19 pandemic.
Already in his short 6 months we have been separated 3 times. Firstly when he was 4 days old and a trip, that had been in the planning for 4 years took place. Secondly, when I returned from this trip in the middle of the measles epidemic and our whānau decided that a stand down period was sensible. And now, for at least the next 4 weeks, while our country tries to eliminate the Covid19 virus.
Believe me, I am currently feeling very lucky that I am not a nanny with a new moko I have not yet met, my heart goes out to you Nannies! Not to mention any Pāpā who have limited time in birthing units and the poor Māmā I read about, who soon gives birth to her stillborn child alone and will not be able to have whānau at a tangi. Although we can all empathise with others this ordeal will not come without its own personal challenges. We need to allow ourselves to feel when this affects us because some days will be harder than others, and also feel for others. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. This could be harder.
While in Japan and thinking through that we would need a stand down period when we returned to NZ was a bit heart wrenching, I'd already chosen to leave the country for 5 1/2 weeks, leaving behind a new born moko, a first time mum, and feeling like I'd abandoned my responsibilities as a mother and a Nanny. So then to have to think through and accept that this wasn't about me and was about the health of our precious taonga, who was vulnerable before his immunisations, was a wee bit tough.
My thinking came across as resistance via snapchat and text. My ignorance of timeframes for each immunisation, didn't help the cause, and I think my daughter thought I was trying to get out of visiting for the next 15 months! We sorted it in the end, I stood down and during that period also got my whooping cough booster to make I was even safer to be around my darling moko when the time was up. I am so glad that we had as many visits as we could during that time, because none of knew then that we were about to head into somehting unprecedented and that the country would be in complete lockdown.
As we started to hear more stories from across the world as to how this virus was spreading our whānau became more aware of how this might affect us. I guess we were early to the game in some ways because by the end of January there were direct effects for me as a teacher in a school where visitors from mainland China were supposed to be coming from. Some were planned to be in our own home. When this was cancelled, we suddenly became very aware that this was a very real threat here in New Zealand.
The affect on our everyday lives though didn't become evident until 2 weekends ago. We had plans for a whānau get together for my birthday and until two days before that were going ahead with these plans. We all came to the same realisation at about the same time though, that we had more cases in New Zealand, I was exposed to more people than most and that a whānau get together could not really go ahead after all. By Monday afternoon the country was told we had until 11.59pm Wednesday to be in lockdown. That birthday decision ended up being a good one.
As we got closer to the lockdown deadline the whole country was making decisions about their bubbles and who was going to be staying where from 11.59pm. Friends around me were making plans to be in the same bubble as their children, and their grandchildren. I knew that wasn't an option for me as not only had I possibly been exposed to more risk than some by being at school, our bubble was going to be compromised everyday by having essential workers leaving the house for work. I read about one family that was able to pack up and make a last minute decision to come together to isolate and felt insanely jealous. Lets face it though, those people I think of as lucky right now may face different challenges over the following weeks, and perhaps there will be times they will be the ones feeling insanely jealous of my smaller, possibly more peaceful, and likely more spacious bubble. However we went into this lockdown, it will challenge us all.
I knew I was being dramatic when I voiced my realisation that there was a very real chance my moko might be crawling, perhaps even walking, and saying a few words before I get to cuddle him again. The reality hit and it felt really hard.
It will be hard, and there are times it will be tougher than others. However, how fortunate are we that we live in a time when even though we can't be physically together, we can still be together? We can ring, text, snapchat, facetime, zoom, skype, google hangout and spend time together in a myriad of other cyber ways. This could be tougher.
There are a few things we can't get easily in the supermarket right now. Soap and sanitiser, flour and pasta are all a bit low from the pre-lockdown panic buying. I have faith this will come right before too long as manufacturers and suppliers replenish their stocks and if they don't we have plenty of hours in the day to find and try new recipes with ingredients that are readily available right now. FYI there doesn't seem to be a shortage of fresh produce and to build our immunity and stay healthy this is what we should be eating more of. This could be harder.
We can't use the gym or congregate in public places right now. But how cool is it that we are all finding ways to exercise at home, saving time in travel, when we were all complaining just a few weeks ago about how time poor we are. How many whanau have you seen out together, going for a walk, playing in their back yard, going for family bike rides? This seems to be a time for lots of us to come back together and take time for manaakitanga. It could be much tougher than this.
So while I am sad that my home bubble can't be shared with some of those I want to be able to share Nanny (also read mum) hugs and kisses with, this is for the best right now. My home bubble is shared "virtually" with their home bubble, to make "our bubble". It could be much harder and tougher than this. We've got this whanau!