Today was a good day. I have learned recently to literally take it a day at a time. All my life I have been conditioned to make plans, save up for the future, plan ahead. Now I have to do the opposite. Remind myself to take it a day at a time.
So today was a good day where I decided to take the kids out with their bikes. Even though it was raining we had to get out of the house, we all needed the fresh air. Since last Thursday all their clubs have been shut so they are not able to go swimming, play tennis, football or go to ballet lessons, all the things that they love and look forward to.
We cycled through the woods and encountered people that widely smiled at us, lots of happy dogs playing around ,completely oblivious of what on earth is happening around them at the minute, we saw the swans and the ducks, we were covered in mud, our bikes our shoes, our coats and then we took a short break and I surprised them with hot cocoa that I had brought along in a flask which made their day! They were happily running around, wet and muddy and they were overjoyed. And for just a few moments I felt deep joy too, the one that only maybe children can feel, or dogs meeting a friend in the park and start running without having a leash on. For a few moments there was bliss.
I forgot about the world, the economic and health crisis, the livelihoods of people being lost daily, the hungry children that need to be fed and the parents that cannot provide, my lonely father who seems like he will be having Christmas alone this year. I forgot about how my life came upside down this year, how I lost a house that I loved and eventually wanted to buy, how I had to be positive for my husband who had to receive a job seekers allowance for the first time in his life and reassure him that this too shall pass, even though sometimes I wasn’t even sure myself. Things became so hard for us that we almost gave up. But we couldn’t, so we didn’t.
But then, I would take a look at my children, my wonderful, strong, supportive children going through this whole situation like it was a walk in the park, only a muddier one this time, so even more fun!
My younger daughter was so happy to move house, she found it really exciting, my eldest got a room of her own for the first time and my son was happy to just have pasta for dinner, jump on muddy puddles and kick a ball in the park. Simple.
Simple life, less stuff, more love. Silver lining.
While I was writing those lines and I was feeling a sense of calmness and fulfilment, even for a few moments, my phone rang. My father was rushed to the hospital with something that looked like internal bleeding. My life stopped again. I cannot fly to him, I cannot be by his bed side, I cannot talk to anyone at the hospital as they are not picking up the phones, the hospital is crammed with covid patients and I cannot reach my father. He is all alone and I am scared that the worse can happen and I won’t even be able to say goodbye. The option to fly to Greece is not even considered as there are no flights going to and from Greece and the country resembles a war zone at the moment. Despair.
I was talking about taking it a day at a time but then I thought even an hour at a time would do for now. Which I did. An hour at a time. A breath at a time.
After a few days of agony and lots and lots of prayers, we received the wonderful news that my father was recovering well and was being released from hospital to protect him from catching an infection there.
And now, I am back breathing freely again, trying to get my head around everything, how my world has changed once more and how I have lost my childlike innocence, again, for good.
The experiences we have, shape us, help us grow and become better, wiser, stronger and more resilient. But they also leave behind their scars. Sometimes deep enough that you cannot filter them out on a selfie. Our eyes darken, they become dimmer, feels they lose their sparkle. Sometimes you even become numb from the pain. I don’t like that. I don’t like dim eyes, foggy gazes, and grim smiles. I don’t like feeling numb.
I like big, bright, shiny eyes with open hearts and loud laughs the ones that hurt your tummy, and joy! Pure, unconditioned, innocent joy. Like the one our children have.
Our children, I can only speak for them, have been such great teachers to us, from resilience to positivity and pure happiness , they have just been the gurus we needed. They guided us to stay strong, and think simply. All they needed from us to do is love and accept them unconditionally which we have become good at. And then they experienced joy.
After a week of despair, fear and uncertainty about my father’s health and after receiving the good news, we went out for a long walk again. My son was splashing in every puddle he could find, he didn’t care about the cold, the wind the howling rain. He was running, splashing, laughing, shouting “this is the best day ever!”.
It is the best day ever, and we are still around to see it, feel, experience it. We are still around to see and experience the small delightful moments and the cloud’s silver lining. What else is there for us to do?