Illustration, Mindset, Parenting

Moving forwards … And reflecting too.

I’m trying to determine what week or month of lockdown we are now in. In truth, I’m not sure where we are … It’s basically three months since the lockdown began, in fact, are we even still in ‘official’ lockdown?

In my last post we were trying to decide whether or not to send Sidney back to school. We decided against. Too risky for our setup we felt. And in the last 24hours we have decided to cancel our holiday to North Wales too. No matter what cleaning protocol the holiday cottage hosts have, how much would we be able to relax, and what would be open? I feel not a lot. Better stay at home and stay safe.

However, where does that leave us? At the moment, I am having daily conversations with myself about staying safe at home in our bubble, but also, acknowledging that we must put ourselves back into the outside world at some point.

We support our local high street as much as possible, and the children are diligently putting their masks on and trying not to touch things in shops when we pop in. But there’s the other part of me that just wants to order things we need online, and just wipe down the parcel when it arrives, or leave it on top of the cupboard in quarantine for a few days.

I went to see my lovely osteopath this week. That felt a little scary on the way, and I considered cancelling. But I was mightily glad I went. I felt very safe the whole time I was there, and I felt much better when I came away. And with the announcement of hair salons opening from July, I will be waiting out to hear my phone ring from Shelly, who has been cutting my hair for the last 15 years. I can’t wait. Even though that may feel a little scary too.

So changes are happening. All be it, small, tentative ones. I think thats all I can manage if I’m honest. My work has lulled this week for the first time since lockdown began, and it’s given me some time to think through some confusing mental and emotional blocks. I have some real confidence problems in calling myself an illustrator, and I’m not sure why. I think because I work with so many talented illustrators, whose work always seem effortless (though I’m sure its not!), I can’t seem to place myself alongside them.

However, I am working on an image at the moment, which I intend to enter into a local open art exhibition in a couple of week’s time. That’s a big step for me. The theme is ‘reflection’ and a drawing I made of the children a few weeks ago is what I feel sums up what I want to reflect: There have been many ups and downs to this time. Extreme stress and anxiety. Loneliness, resentment, tiredness and overwhelm.

But this has also been a time for personal and emotional growth. Watching the friendship between Sidney and Harriet really grow has been a joy. Of course they argue, but they have become much closer too, and help each other and comfort each other in the most loving way. I am incredibly proud of how we have all survived this time. We bake every week (we never used to), we dress up and hang bunting on birthdays (we didn’t bother doing that before), we make treasure hunts and go on adventure walks from our doorstep. We have grown loads of flowers from seeds, and had to buy lots of new pots to put them in.

This has been an incredibly difficult time, and there has been much sadness and grief for many. When I started writing this post, I was feeling very sad, but now I can also see the growth and the opportunity … As together, we move forwards, just a little bit, and reflect a bit too.

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