As I’m typing this, I’m still in the grips of my COVID infection. I’m feeling sluggish, can’t smell anything and experiencing the world’s worst nose congestion and post-nasal drip. This is my second COVID infection, the last one being almost exactly 12 months ago. I should count my lucky stars that this time around my infection is mild, compared to last time. Hence why I have the mental capacity to jot down some reflection.
Compared to the last time I had COVID, there is barely any rules around isolation now. In fact, I myself have been quite lax about isolation, which was probably how I ended up with COVID in the first place. When my husband fell sick, we didn’t isolate him, out of practicality. I had a few client deadlines to meet that week and I needed my external monitors, so I couldn’t be bothered with moving my desk. Given we would be sharing an office space, I figured why we needed to sleep separately. Lo and behold, three days later the familiar prickling feeling in my throat began, followed by a pain that trickled down to my chest. I knew it the moment I felt it that I would not escape the clasp of the dreaded COVID this time around.
Yet, what surprised me was my son. He too returned a positive COVID test. Yet, there had been no signs apart from him telling us he felt cold every now and then. So here we are, a family of three, battling it out with this cursed virus. Today, both my son and husband returned negative tests and have returned to work and kinder, while I’m still in the grips of it and more, collecting symptoms each day like it’s the latest Pokemon cards. Today it’s tinnitus and blocked ears. Yet, despite feeling physically unwell, I feel mentally refreshed and well rested for the first time in a long while. I thought I would be keen for my son to return to kinder, but I am surprised to find myself missing him a great deal today.
I reminisce our time in isolation, which is weird because we were sick! However, this virus, unlike a cold, offered us the perfect excuse and opportunity for forced rest. With nowhere to go and people avoiding us like the plague (intentional choice of metaphor), I felt like we were enveloped in a cocoon, away from distraction and entered a place where time moved slower. There was no place to be, so we went inwards: I repotted the flowers, read voraciously and sat in the sun, just because. My husband cleaned the garage and trimmed the hedges. There was no yelling at my son to hurry up because we’re going to be late going somewhere. We indulged him in all the play, even creating games out of old tyres in the backyard. It was simple and joyful to disconnect.
Just last night, my son said to me in darkness as I sang him to sleep: “Mama, I’m happy today because you play a lot with me.”
It broke my heart a little that on most days I couldn’t fulfil such a simple request of his while I tend to the washing, the cooking, the never-ending list of things to do in life. In fact, I’m a bit wistful now that we’re all getting better and social season is descending, starting with my husband and son’s birthdays coming up in two weeks, and the impending holiday season. But I’m resolved to set stronger boundaries on our social life. I have long acknowledged that there is no work-family-life balance, so I pick-and-choose what to prioritise at different time and different season. In this fleeting season that is my son’s pre-school years, I’m choosing him. In doing so, I’m also choosing myself and my wellbeing, in order to be a better mother and carer to him.
Who knew a bout of viral infection could inspire such a transformation? COVID, you snivelling, snarky, sneaky bitch.
Image source: kaboompics