‘A tale grandparents will tell their grandkids – the time the world stayed at home to save each other’
20th Mar 2020
Here at IMAGE, amid the crisis we find ourselves in, we are keen to highlight some of the small acts of kindness, the uplifting stories, the community spirit that we see emerging through the cracks of a society on lockdown. That’s why we wanted to share these words by Tracey Smith that really sums things up.
Years from now this will all be a tale from a time few will believe ever happened.
It will be a tale that grandparents will tell their grandkids as they stare in awe at the time the world stayed at home to save each other.
There was a time when hugs were not allowed, they’ll say. A time business people greeted each other with elbow nudges. When a cough was the most terrifying sound and kids never again used their sleeve to sneeze.
Nannies stared out their windows missing the army of grandkids marching up the drive, only silence, no chatter or gossip. The kettle lay still and the only one mug needed.
Swings were still, playgrounds stood silent.
Some read bedtime stories through phones, others listened as their kids talked about how they did their school work at the kitchen table, how they fought with their brother and how they hated ‘that bug that’s trying to hurt everyone’.
Parents home for every dinner time and bedtime, their office set up by the oven. They were doing conference calls beside Lego mountains and mounds of laundry. Trying to keep their four-year-old busy as they talked about contingency plans and shared the same unspoken worry with colleagues.
Thousands of teenagers faced the most uncertain time of their young lives, studying for an exam they had no idea when they would sit, sitting in their rooms going over algebra or music theory as number and notes float around their eyes. Their minds too are floating, with the unknown and where they will be when those new leaves begin to brown and fall again.
There was a time when every shop on each main street and village was dark and empty on a spring Friday afternoon when it started, the people who filled them now separated and frightened.
The heroes of that time were not Batman or Thor, they were nurses, porters and doctors, they were the people in the supermarket and pharmacy.
Parks were empty, swings were still, playgrounds stood silent.
But then, as always, the sun will come out, the first hugs would be the biggest and longest. For fear they will be separated again, nannies and grandads held their babies’ hands and watched their little faces as they all caught up, ate together, laughed together —all close together as families should be.
Keys turned in doors, blinds were lifted, tills began to ring again, and those Friday afternoons were glorious.
Noises, sights, sounds, smiles, hugs, handshakes and no fear. Only normal.
Just life, getting by, getting on. Moving forward. Because when we wake up tomorrow we will be one day closer to that normal.
Tracey Smith writes on her blog Mum’s MakeupBag
Image via Unsplash.com
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