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My mixed feelings towards the end of the lockdown and how I am coping with them

What would you do or feel if social distancing rules were to end tomorrow?

The lockdown we have been living in Norway since mid-March ends tomorrow. Life sort of goes back to normal. To a “new” normal. And I have mixed feelings about this. While I am happy to think the health authorities believe the pandemic to be under control in this country, at least enough to resume some normality, I am also battling with a feeling of loss and nostalgia for what was or could have been.

Is this woman crazy?!! I can almost hear the thoughts from any of you that might be experiencing tougher lockdown and pandemic conditions in other countries. And please, do not misunderstand me. I feel you and I wish for your lockdown to be over. I wish for the world to be safe for us again (or at least as safe as it was before coronavirus hit us). But more than wishing for your life to go back to “normal,” I wish for you to have the possibility of choosing your normal.

We are not yet going back to normal here in Norway. This is still far from over. But we are trying to get back to some normality in our lives. This means that nursery schools and preschools open tomorrow. And that the first four grades open in a week. While this is a necessary step that will allow society to reopen and parents to go back to work (because the world cannot just continue to be in shutdown, how many times have I heard or read that?), I am overwhelmed by questions and doubt. Is this too soon? Are we foolishly exposing our kids (and ourselves or others through them)? Will we be hit by the virus again and need to go back to lockdown? Only time will tell.

What I fear and shall not miss

Beyond these fears (founded or not), I am struggling with exposing my children to the new normal. Kids will find schools to be a quite different place to what it used to be when they last were in them. How can the youngest possibly understand or cope with what we have been told will be the new reality? They will be divided in groups and unable to play with children they used to play with. The nurseries have now been divided with tape or something like that in the outside areas so that groups won’t mingle. Social distance will still be enforced.

This is something I for sure will not miss when it is over. And more than anything, I won’t miss the fear. The sadness. Hearing day by day of people losing the battle to this tough virus. Knowing of the anguish, sadness and danger faced by doctors and nurses, and having some of them be among the lives that have been lost. The economic uncertainty for the people who have lost their jobs. I won’t miss the anxiety. I won’t miss sending my parents away to another country across the ocean without knowing when my kids could see their beloved grandparents again. I won’t miss the disappointment of seeing people outside behaving as if this were a vacation and having visits or holding parties, or not keeping social distance. I won’t miss the never ending arguments with my children about why they could not see their friends. I won’t miss getting on each other’s cases because we have been confined too long.

So what could possibly be missed?

It hasn’t all been negative. Not for me, anyway. Let me tell you a bit of what I will miss so that you will see (maybe) that I am not so crazy:

  1. Having control of my time and schedule. I will miss life going at a slower pace. Owning most of our waking hours (sort of). Not having to rush anywhere in the mornings or fighting because the kids were taking their time and we were running late. Having the possibility of trying new things and getting creative to fight boredom (what a leisure!), or to avoid having the kids crawling up the walls; learning new skills, catching up on the reading or taking a dozen free online classes or online tours to museums and galleries. Ok, being a mom this almost feels like a joke. I didn’t have any time to do a single virtual tour and I don’t think I can say I did the rest. And I am sure parents who had to homeschool or do home office in addition very likely didn’t have the time to juggle all that either! But waking up without the daily fight trying to get the kids to their nursery school, and having the whole day for us to plan did feel like a leisure.
  2. Our lockdown family dynamics. I will miss seeing my children play together and be there for each other in a way they had not been before. They are only six and two (almost three) years old, so finding common interest wasn’t easy and it was always easier for my oldest to choose being out with his friends, that is, before coronavirus happened. But during the lockdown I have witnessed the bond between them growing stronger. They quarrel now more than before, of course, but they lean on each other more too.
  3. Common activities. I will miss the activities I did with my kids because we had the whole day together. I will miss too the ones I didn’t get to do with them because it seemed like the lockdown would last forever and there was always a tomorrow to do them.
  4. Caring for others. I will miss hearing the stories of people going out of their way to help others (like the families offering to cook or shop for those in quarantine or for the vulnerable ones).
  5. Less pollution. I will miss the roads almost empty of cars, and our air being cleaner. I will miss the news reporting our planet was healing to some extent due to the lockdown. That the skies were cleaner and the Himalayas became visible for the first time in 30 years (will they disappear again when India’s lockdown is over?), that the birds were singing differently (because they didn’t need to compete with the urban noise) and that wildlife (dolphins, lions and others) was showing itself in new places.

So, when I do a balance of the last one and a half months, I feel that – leaving aside the human tragedy caused by the coronavirus- the personal experiences have not been all negative (or don’t have to be so, in any case). And my heart aches when facing the possibility of losing these gains.

How am I coping with this? I find a way to drain, through dancing with my children or through my own writing. Sometimes just dozing off reading my phone or watching TV to shut my mind to everything else. But mostly, I try to focus on the positive, on the gains that can be carried on, on the lessons learned from the shutdown that could make of this a better world.

Do you have any mixed feelings when you think of the end of the lockdown? Or you just look forward to it with joy? If you are like me, and have mixed feelings, perhaps you will want to read my article 11 learnings I chose to take with me from the lockdown. It is my way of coping and making myself a promise that whatever was good will remain. At least the part that I can control.

Check it out here and/or write in the comments if you want to share your own experience/feelings.

About the author: Edymar Ablan is a journalist and a children’s picture books author. You can find out more about her published (or soon to be published) works by visiting And if you have children who enjoy coloring pages and activities like mazes or word searches, feel free to subscribe at the bottom of the page and you will receive a free set of printables for your children (with more to come!)

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