A week like no other.

We are in the midst of a world health crisis, the economy is in the toilet, households are in shock, families separated, jobs lost and we all await anxiously to find out what happens next.

New Zealand has been in lockdown, on account of Covid19, since Thursday 26th. The Friday before we learnt about a four level alert system and immediately went to Level 2, Tuesday we went to Level 3 and schools closed along with Level 4 confirmed to begin in the two days following. New Zealand went into lockdown just 24 days following our first confirmed case, with all but essential services are closed.

With forty-eight hours until a four week lockdown many were in a panic as the predicament posed a number of dilemmas. The move to level four was swift but it had to be to save as many New Zealanders as possible.

Four weeks to stay at home to save lives is what we have been told, however watching what has happened across the globe has everyone thinking that surely it will need to be longer. We are grieving the loss of our community as we know it.

Family groups in lockdown, now referred to as our ‘bubble’ are our ‘cell mates’ for the foreseeable future so choosing your bubble was the first consideration. For our household this was the biggest dilemma as being a daughter, mother and grandmother the first thoughts were to bring everyone home so we can take care of them. My mum is elderly (don’t take offence Mum) and she has underlying health issues, the week prior to lockdown she spent a night in hospital and the following night at ours recuperating so of course the first thing we did was to welcome Mum back into our home. No that was not going to work; my Mum is fiercely independent and she lives by herself in a small retirement community where she is used to taking care of everyone else. She kindly but flatly declined the offer of staying with us even though she knows that if she gets sick she will have no one to care for her and the likelihood of surviving Covid19 would be minimal. Having had a cry, I have had to resolve myself with her decision and I spend our daily conversations trying to convince her to keep safe and making her laugh or listening to her opinion on how the government is handling things. Love you Mum, you have taught me to be strong, empathic, resilient, aim high and laugh loud. I’m counting down the days until we hug again because the video calls just aren’t the same as being wrapped up in your arms.

My daughter currently rents a room in a multi home complex and has little to no money and minimal ability to store food, she is the mother of our grandson whom we rescued from her care six years ago. He loves her with all his heart and she visits each week, so she was the next person to be offered a room in the bubble. However this invitation was rescinded the following morning having considered how this confinement would affect our grandson. Having spent the last six years surrounding him with love in a secure environment we realised that if his Mum moved in for the lockdown he would have to loose her all over again once the lockdown ended. She agreed this was the best option for her boy and we agreed to support her with any needs that she had during the lockdown and we connect via video every day. I love my daughter but her son is our number one priority, so another difficult decision made.

Our son, his partner and their two daughters are in their own bubble. He is working from home but her job as a chef is not essential so she is now the main care giver. One benefit for her is that she gets to spend more time with her horse now that she is not working long hours. The girls too are learning to play better together. Love them all and enjoy watching each of the girls trying to get into the video screen when sharing their adventures with Gran and Pops.

My hubby’s parents have each other and are in a large retirement village which is now off limits. They have access to meals on wheels and their café is delivering meals as well. They are thankful for the companionship and television however the lack of sport is proving a bit frustrating.

So our bubble is down to three, we love and respect each other ‘to infinitely and beyond’ however my husband is the type of person that has to be working so I am aware that lockdown will prove a big challenge for him, especially as cyclists are told not to go for big 100k cycles; stay safe stay local. Wish we had an indoor trainer. He has a list of jobs that he will start to attend to but they will disappear very soon, he has already cleaned the windows, done the gardens and lawns, cleaned all the surfaces in the house, vacuumed, washed our cycles and cars and we are only on day 5. I’m working from home so he also has to entertain our grandson, lucky they are best mates.

Time to learn to dance. Find what will work for your bubble; whether it be music, dance, exercise, cooking, reading, painting, gardening or just being present make sure you dance your heart out. The next four weeks will be like no other connect and love those around you, be kind and be safe. Celebrate the birthdays, anniversaries and life in general. Laugh loud.

With the weather fine at present we can go out and about for a walk or ride together however with wet weather on the way we have taken the opportunity to change our house layout. The spare room is now a ‘chill out zone’ where anyone of us can take time for ourselves. I am a part time artist so grabbed some canvases and paints prior to lockdown. The garage has also had a make over, the cars are in the carport so we have another chill zone complete with football table, trestle for jigsaws and lots a room to build tracks for cars to zoom around on or just build lego. Lots of opportunities to learn to dance in the rain.

So far we are lucky, both with regard to the number of cases compared to other countries and the fact that we have an amazing opportunity to connect with our bubble mates, rest and reflect, work from home, exercise on a daily basis, spend time doing activities that we haven’t had time to, connect with our passions and just chill, spend less, love more, cook, call our friends, breathe fresh air (less carbon emissions) and just live. Stay well, keep home and stay local. Best of luck to us all.

Thank you to all the essential workers, we are grateful.

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