A simple number that, until New Years at the end of 2019, was seen by many as ‘The Future’. Almost from the first day in, and even a little bit of 2019, it seemed our world was burning. Or at least, the eastern coast of Australia was burning. Smoke filled the air and drifted over our cities, at one point giving us the world’s worst air quality.
Naively, we all thought that the bushfires were going to be the worst thing to come out of 2020. And then, Covid-19 arrived. Masks became a fashion accessory, and the most exciting outing for our week was a trip to the supermarket, on the hunt for toilet paper and canned corn.
We thought that it was a little bit of an inconvenience at first, however then the unimaginable happened. Schools and kinders were shut down. Students were told to stay at home and parents were given the task of teaching them. It was going to be for a short time, but ended up being almost 6 months. Parents learned far more about craft, math, science, literature and many other subjects than they had ever dreamed of knowing. It was almost as if the parents had gone back to school themselves. In fact, it was as if they had gone back into the classroom. Or more to the point, that the classroom had come to them. In their home. On their TV.
Every. Single. Day. Of the week.
The word ‘Zoom’ became more than just a sound effect from a naff cartoon. For many, it became a link to the outside world. Not only the classroom, but for family catch-ups, checking on elderly relatives and for some, saying their final goodbye to a loved one in hospital. It brought joy, but also much sadness.
Then the playgrounds closed.
An already tough situation became a little harder. The one hour a day that we were allowed outside was already tough, but without playgrounds, became a little tougher. I felt that we were lucky, as we had a beach and parklands within our 5km, but many were inland. Some were even in high-rise appartments.
Somehow, we got through to the other side. We all worked together and got the numbers down to zero. And then we kept them there. It meant that we could have Christmas with loved ones. Travel. Spend more than one hour outside each day.
And throughout it all, the children have not only survived, but somehow have grown even stronger. Although they have done it so tough – being taken away from their friends and their social activities – they have shown resilience and determination. They have missed out on so much. School concerts, Camps, Graduations, Formals and countless social activities with their friends. But they have survived.
And if you are reading this, it means that you have survived. You, the parent that struggled through home schooling. You, who soldiered through your child’s online learning whilst working from home and somehow managed to find a balance. You, who yearned to spend time with your elderly relatives or friends but followed the rules so that everyone could be with their loved ones sooner. You, the person who quietly slinked from the room to have a quiet cry because it all seemed too much. You, who sat in front of the TV and binged multiple series of mindless sitcoms on Netflix whilst eating junk food.
You survived. And no matter what the world decides to throw at you next, you can say “I survived one of the toughest and longest lockdowns in the world!”. You survived one of Melbourne’s longest winters – indoors, nowhere to go and for the most part, alone. Most importantly, you survived the toilet paper wars of 2020.
You bloody superstar.