I’m not fussed about New Year celebrations, I can either take them or leave them, however if I find myself going out I always have a good time. Most years I go to bed at my bedtime and get woken up by the fireworks at midnight, wish my husband a happy new year and go back to sleep.
However coming into 2020 I was feeling optimistic about the year, our daughter with Downs Syndrome was due to be leaving school in the summer, we knew which college we wanted her to go to and knew we potentially had a battle on our hands but we were excited and full of optimism for our daughter about the year ahead. I even put in my Facebook status ‘2020 bring it on!’ Safe to say I didn’t mean bringing it on quite on the way it did!
The year started pretty well and much to our surprise our daughters college placement was agreed straightaway beginning of February. So thankful as it turns out that we didn’t have that battle on top of covid. The powers that be can move slow enough as it is without pandemic getting in the way! I really felt we needed to take our daughter out for a meal the evening of the day we found out. In often look back on that evening and so glad we took the opportunity to celebrate, we didn’t know then, that soon we wouldn’t be able to do that. We had other celebrations after that, we had our sons adoption day (out for a family meal) then the last ‘normal thing we did as a whole family was go out for meal for our daughters 19th birthday. A few days after that our world started changing, Covid 19 was taking hold. People’s motives for buying toilet roll was even being judged!
16th March care homes were told to close to visitors. We were devastated as this meant we couldn’t see our son who has severe learning disabilities. We started having video call with him which were interesting being as he’s non verbal but they did have some success as our son learnt to respond to them, largely by smiling at us and touching the screen.
20th March school and hospitality closed meaning people couldn’t go out for Mother’s Day, then 23rd March a complete lockdown was announced and we were only allowed our for essential shopping, exercise or medical reasons, later the government also realised some people would need to leave their homes to escape danger.
We were in lockdown all over Easter, (in April)which like most of lockdown up until that point, was a beautiful and warm sunny weekend and spent a lot of that time outside in the garden. Although the nicer weather made me yearn to go to the seaside, which obviously we couldn’t do, it did make the first lockdown a whole lot easier to cope with. At the end of April (still in lockdown) in I turned 50, I had planned a party but this was now against the rules. Under the circumstances it was a lovely day. My husband and daughter spoilt me and had done a lovely video clip.
In the middle of May we were finally allowed to meet one other person outside of the house in a park. We were allowed to sit in the park and have picnics in the park. It was bliss!
Beginning of June we were allowed to meet in peoples gardens, a few days into this and the weather started getting wet!! Also in June some students were allowed my back to school and our daughter was allowed back. She was just in for 2 days but it helped her mental health enormously and she was able to Finnish her school career properly, all be it without a prom etc.
Everything was gradually opening up and at the beginning of the summer holiday we were finally allowed to go away on holiday and we had a lovely family holiday in North Devon. Then a few weeks later hubby and I managed to get a much needed few days by ourselves.
In August we were able to see our son through a fence but it was heart breaking not being able to hug him. Touch is how he communicates.
All through this time we were trying to find out what was happening about college but nobody really knew which was a bit unsettling. However in September our very excited daughter started college.
Also in September we managed to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a meal out and in October celebrate hubby’s birthday with family meal out.
However cases of covid seeing a worrying rise again and November brought a 4 week lockdown, though not quite as strict as March, a few weeks before that all the country were put into different tiers according to how high the infection rate was in the area. We were originally in tier 1 which meant we could only meet in groups of up to six people. During the lockdown they decided that every adult with Down’s syndrome was clinically extremely vulnerable even though our daughter doesn’t have the health conditions that can be attached to Downs Syndrome. This meant she was wasn’t allowed to college and has an exhausting few weeks of online learning
Coming out of lockdown our area was placed in tier 2 meaning we could only meet people outside but no more than six. We could meet in peoples gardens, so thick coats and blankets were the order of the day. Our sons home had started making plans for christmas and assuming we had negative Covid test before hand we could bring him home on Christmas Day. We were so excited. Then the home decided that with the lateral flow tests, assuming our tests were negative we could also bring him home for his birthday and we had a lovely time.
It wasn’t long before we we were in tier three but this didn’t affect christmas plans
19th December was our first day in tier 3 (no indoor household mixing and can only meet up to 5 other people In parks) and the governement were becoming aware of a new variant of covid that was even more contagious. They made a new tier 4 which our area was going into. Only able to meet one other person in public outdoor spaces and while the original christmas relaxation of rules changed so it was only for one day tier 4 wasn’t able to mix households even on Christmas Day. This meant we couldn’t have our son after all. We were absolutely gutted! We had a socially distanced walk with him on Christmas Day. Christmas was very quiet christmas.
I mentioned at the beginning that I’m not fussed about new year, largely I feel it’s just another day. The problems you have on 31st December don’t just disappear on 1st January and I rarely say I’m glad to see the back of year cos most years have had some good and some bad both of equal measure.
As I sit hear during the last few hours of 2020, still in the throughs of covid I know when I wake up tomorrow in 2021 Covid will still be here. We are hoping that the vaccines still take effect and we can get back to doing life without restrictions.
Not just this year but every year there are still issues we take into another year. Our biggest enemy is often ourselves and how we react to things. However what we can take into next year is the lessons we have learnt, which have made us better people.
Here’s hoping and praying 2021 turns out to be a better year for us all.