I’m not so much inspired to write this blog by recent events as I am by Tom’s brother and mom, who have recently started blogging from Vienna and Washington D.C., respectively, documenting their days unfolding in the midst of Coronavirus. Why not, I thought. One day I’ll want to look back and recall the flavor of these strange times.
It’s been a strange year, to say the least. It’s actually been a strange past few years, but the days get stranger. When Arthur was born, the Australian bushfires were already raging outside so that my recovery suite, with the blinds drawn over its single window, seemed to glow orange from the smoke-screened sun outside. But who knew they’d rage for so many months beyond my Chinese medicine-advised confinement period that we’d be further confined to our apartment so as not to breathe smoke that equated to 500 cigarettes?
And while we’re now blessed with regular heavy rain and the bluest skies imaginable, there is now a pandemic. A month or so ago it seemed very far away. Like SARS did back in 2002, or like wars in countries other than our own. And if it weren’t for Tom, who has been following the news and data since before I was aware that an epidemic was imminent, I’m not sure I would feel as prepared as I do now. Even so, how prepared is enough? But now the world is shutting down and the number of cases in Australia – in New South Wales especially – is doubling every four days.
But you’d be hard pressed, at least walking through the streets of our neighborhood, Surry Hills, to feel that anything is amiss. Aside from toilet paper aisles at supermarkets all over the city being perpetually empty for the past two weeks, the streets, cafes, and restaurants in our area are still quite bustling, frequented by invincible-feeling Gen-Zers, millennials with their young children, and blithe baby-boomers who are perhaps unaware that on social media the virus is also being savagely hashtagged as the #BoomerRemover.
Even certain members of my mother’s group, with adoring mums such as myself who want only the best and safest for their children are guilty of certain stupidities.
“Anyone going to Rhyme Time at the library today?” one mum asked eagerly this morning.
I quickly rained on her parade and texted the group this article, which Tom’s mom sent to us yesterday.
“I guess I should practice some social distancing then,” the girl said.
Things are about to change, thanks to Big Brother since the citizenry cannot be trusted to do what’s best for the world at large. Word on the street is that by tomorrow the government will take much needed and hopefully not-too-late action to close things down and confine us for a few months further.
Arthur, due to these unforeseen circumstances, has become more of an indoor baby.
Thankfully Tom is now working from home which makes confinement more bearable for both me and the baby. His face lights up a few watts more when he sees his father’s face, perhaps because thus far, he’s seen his father far less often than he sees me.
This wasn’t how I imagined the first year of Arthur’s life going, but that’s…life. We had tons of trips planned – weddings to attend, family to visit both here and back in the States – that are now indefinitely on hold. And for the everyday, we were looking forward to doing a bit more of the things we used to do, since despite my moanings about the baby not sleeping, he has, at least for the past two days been gifting us a few more precious hours of slumber. As a result, we’ve been feeling more energized, more optimistic, more like our former selves.
A few weeks ago I even invested in some new workout clothes, thinking it was time to get back into the swing of things and not wear old sports bras from high school. But now it looks like I’ll be lounging a bit more in my pajamas and doing yoga with the baby lolling about next to me.
Who knows how this will all go. Maybe we’ll churn out a much overdue newsletter in the next few days to give our quarantined loved ones some short respite from more dire news.
Anyway, stay safe. Take your vitamins and use your toilet paper sparingly. Wash your hands and stay home, or at least safely distanced if you’re out. See you guys on the other side of all this. In the meantime, some moments from these Coronavirus Days.