It’s our Happy New Year again – that time that always seems more like a fresh start to me than 1 January (see more at August Bank Holiday – my New Year’s Eve). I’ve had a couple of weeks away from the blog as the old year has wound down, and we had a wonderful few family days in Kent. While we were there, I noticed that beautiful golden glow of late summer and early autumn is creeping in, and every year for me it means a fresh start, and fresh mornings.
This year, of course, a lot more is new than usual. The boys went back to school on Monday – apprehensive at 8am, and full of the fun of it by 3pm. As for me, for the first time since March, I gave a full day to work without needing to worry about snacks or screen time or fighting or Getting Fresh Air or Fortnite. (We let maths and writing go way back in July, despite all my grand plans to Keep Up Their Education during the summer holidays.)
I’ll be honest though, it was hard to see our little bubble burst. As well as all of the new things to read about keeping safe at school, extra stuff to organise, things to do differently and tell the boys about, there was the big change in routines. From getting up and out on the school run, to packed lunches and an overflowing laundry bin again, life is very different to the way we’ve conducted it over the last six months. And although it has certainly been hard in some ways, I did enjoy the time I was gifted to watch them learn, spend time with them, and get to know these boys again, who had left my full time care so long ago. On Monday I knew I would miss all the good and wonderful bits about them, about me, and about lockdown, and for lots of reasons I was sad at the closing of this chapter.
But I have absolutely loved this first week of our new normal. The boys have thrived on being back at school, and I have thrived on not being their teacher. Most of all, I have thrived on having literally hours on end to give to my business without being pulled in other (louder) directions, and it feels like a long time since I’ve been able to do that. The loveliest thing is seeing previous customers returning, now that things in their businesses are bouncing back too, and new customers getting in touch as well. Things in the gardens of small businesses that have been forced into dormancy are starting to flourish again all over the place, and I’m beginning to reclaim that part of myself that has spent most of the year tucked away in the shadows as well.
So now, instead of worrying about the bubble bursting, I’m hoping that our fragile, happy new normal will last. As I watch the case numbers rise, and winter illnesses looming, the more I fear that it’s not set to last – not this side of the spring, at least. So in keeping with the season, I shall make hay while the sun shines, write and write, enjoy some Friday morning yoga without a soundtrack of online gaming, and hope that we can all hold on and keep going if times get tough again.
In the meantime – Happy New Year, and may it hold fewer surprises than the last one!