It’s the spaces I miss. You’d think that in lockdown, we would have all the space and time we could ever want but, although we have time, space is a precious commodity, both mental and physical.
Our lives used to have natural spaces built in. Train journeys to church and drama club, where we could just sit and stare out of the window. Walks to and from school, idly chatting about our days. Times when we didn’t have to be doing some kind of activity and could just kinda do nothing.
Now, our days have to be filled. As soon as the kids finish one activity, they need to have something else to do. If they’ve had too much screen time, we tell them to do something else but you can see them struggle to think of something fun to do that they’ve haven’t done 70 times in the last 70 days. They need constant stimulation and distraction to stop them dwelling on the bigger situation and that’s something that even the grown ups are doing to some extent.
I miss my commute and the buffer zone between work and parenting. I never realised how much I needed it until my buffer zone disappeared and then became something of an anti-buffer zone, with Eva lolling over me as I try to finish up for the day. The time pressure is off at the weekend but there’s still no space to just sit around and be. There are demands and requests. We are all bored and restless and not meant to function in this environment. We miss those natural spaces.
One day I’m sure we’ll rose-tint these days and remember them as quality family time while the children were just about still small enough to snuggle in while we worked. But right now, the present doesn’t feel rose-tinted. It feels stuffy and airless. It won’r be forever but it feels like forever.
I miss the spaces in between.