Filling your cup

There really is nothing more important than the self-realisation that you have all you need.  The importance of filling your cup instead of rejoining the hype and craziness of the pre lockdown rat race.

This week has felt weird. My husband has been back at work for a while, my boys have returned to level two schooling and most of my friends are back at work.  I find myself pleased I started this blog during lockdown, because it gives me a focus other than my day to day mum life each week. While I’m not ready to return to full time teaching any time soon, I have put my name down for relief teaching a couple of days a week. After all, now that I’ve survived teaching my own sons, how hard can other people’s children be?

Level two feels like a semi return to normal. It feels like lockdown went so fast now that we are out of it, even though at times it was endless.  It feels like we are on the right track to managing and containing Covid-19 in our country as long as everyone stays vigilant with hand washing, hygiene and contact tracing.

My hands have broken out with eczema from over use of hand washing and hand sanitizing, everywhere I go. However, I’m happy to have raw skin if it helps to keep coronavirus and other bugs at bay. 

My five year old got into an argument this morning after hand sanistising at the school gate and not understanding why he had to hand sanitise yet again almost instantly at his classroom door. I must admit he has a point.

So while everyone gets used to this new kind of normal I realise there are definitely lessons I have learned during lockdown that I want to continue bringing into my normal routine way of life.  

I have found it increasingly important not to rush back into as many activities and stressful expectations as before lockdown.  I want to take the lessons that we’ve learned as a family; the ones about slowing down and enjoying each other’s time, extra cuddles and finding fun games and whanau activities to share together. We have all exercised together for fun and because we had to, I have even enjoyed cooking at home.

Since level two, I’ve had a dinner out with my girlfriends last Friday, which I’ll admit was much needed girl time after nearly eight weeks in a household of boys. It was so special to spend physical time with these women because we have all helped each other survive and get through the past eight weeks online.  We have chatted on messenger, facetimed, held virtual quizzes and drinks and just been there for each other through the ups and downs, as we all navigated family life in lockdown.  We had a great night, it felt wonderful to dress up and get out of the comfortable home clothes but it also felt strange being out of the house.

We have also had takeaway’s a couple of times as a family and went out for a family dinner in the weekend.  These were nice too but left my husband and I with new goals, that although we want to support local we also don’t see the need to eat out as much as we used to. 

For me returning to level two meant that I could go to the beach.  We took off to our home away from home, Mount Maunganui and the first thing we did was rush down to the beach.  To feel the waves on my feet, the sand in my toes and the sunshine on my face, as we raced each other down, to our favourite spot. Being back at the beach meant absolutely everything to me.  It felt so nice to be grounded again next to mighty Tangaroa.  

We caught up with family who had celebrated milestone birthdays during lockdown and it was magical to hug these people we love so much.

I have marvelled at the way my children have adapted to only a few days of level two schooling, proud of their maturity as they accept the differences and embrace the return of their closest friends.  I have smiled as they said could they stay home and keep homeschooling and reveled in their excited faces as they describe their day, when I pick them up at the school gate.

I haven’t raced out to get everything I have missed done; I haven’t rushed out to buy things I don’t need. In fact lockdown has proved to me, just how little we actually do require.   I’ll admit, I have had my hair coloured to hide the extra greys that came from homeschooling and I look forward to getting my nails done, but I can’t say I’ve missed a lot else. Apart from family and friends, my lockdown bubble really did have everything I needed to survive and be happy, once I got used to the change of everyday freedom.

My favourite lockdown lessons that got me through the tougher times were family, food and fun.  The endless laughs and inside jokes, the memories and the food recipes that managed to taste okay!

I am savouring the time to go slow. To not have endless jobs to do, or appointments to keep, things to buy unnecessarily or rushing from one thing to the next.  I feel closer to my children and closer to my husband. After all we didn’t kill each other with all that extra time.  

I look forward to supporting my husband and his business, my children’s emotional and physical development and I now feel more rested to be able to do so after our lockdown experience.

My take homes?   Choose things to fill your cup: don’t rush to buy endless material items that quite frankly we just don’t need. I repeat. For me: Food, family and fun.   I would have liked a few extra special people in my tiny bubble but that was pretty much all I missed. For me, the beach, lakes and forest, catching up physically with family and friends are what I have missed.

I knew that for as long as it took me to adapt and relax into lockdown levels three and four, as much as I moaned about homeschooling and being trapped at home, once again, I surprised myself by just how much I got used to it all, just in time for level two to change it all up again.

I look forward to having more topics to write about and comment on.  I look forward to riding my bike, dancing with my friends and weekend adventures with my boys.

I look forward to spending precious moments with family and friends whom we missed so much when we couldn’t see them and look to spend time not money making memories.

I’m going to spend the next wee while filling my own cup. Filling it, so I can fill the cups of others. Filling it to the brim with things that make me smile, make me happy and content. I’m enjoying these autumn days and nights at home reading, playing cards and spending time watching more TV than I usually do.  I know life will begin to pick back up but I just don’t want to lose what I’ve treasured and what I have enjoyed about our compulsory lockdown.

I hope that whatever brings you joy you can fit back into your lives while appreciating just how lucky most of us are in New Zealand.

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