I finished my last post saying I had hope…..
In june I still had hope. So much hope. I hoped to see my parents again this summer.
Before Covid-19 took over the world our plan was to spend a month in Estonia from mid July to mid August. Now this plan wasn’t there anymore because there was so much uncertainty about travel, all the risk, plus living in a high-risk country we would have had to quarantine for 2 weeks on our arrival there. And that is something that’s impossible with two little kids. Impossible.
So we were praying and waiting for the infection rate to go down. I kept checking Estonian Foreign Ministry’s website every week. The infection rate per 100 000 people had to be lower than 15 to enter my home country without staying in quarantine. Finally in mid July it started going down…. Once again, I was full of hope. The rate went down to 14 and then 13 and I was ready to buy our tickets!!! I had chosen our flights for August, started adding the passenger details and then it hit me……………….. my youngest, 1-year old didn’t have a passport. And it all came crashing down. After yet another meltdown I tried to pull myself back together again that maybe there is still something we can do. But living in a “broken” country thanks to Covid, there were no fast-track passport applications available and there was an actual sentence on the government’s website saying something like “we can’t promise any timeline for your documents to arrive”, so even though I’ve made the application, sent our passports away we were waiting for a miracle basically… Obviously, that miracle didn’t happen.
My passport also expired the end of August, so together with that our plans were never gonna come to life (my new passport took over 2 months). My little one’s passport took 7 weeks to arrive. Of course I blamed myself for not getting it done earlier and for being such an idiot but let’s be honest…. During spring, I was a mess. If Covid never happened I would have never ever forgotten and even if I would have we would have booked the flights in April-May, I would have realised he needed a passport, it would have taken maybe 2 months, but it would have been done in time for summer. But because even in June we had close to zero chance of travelling, I forgot. Why would I think about it. Why would anyone?
We did try and thought about getting my parents over here August-September but it all felt too risky so we left it, which we now realise we totally should have done regardless. But at the time there was still not enough information out there and I could have not lived with the fact that my 74-year old dad flew here to see his grandkids and caught the virus thanks to me basically. Nope nope nope.
And obviously after September we entered into a lockdown number 2 so I now haven’t seen my mom for exactly a year, and my dad since August 2019. This kills me. Every day. And hurts so bad. Not just a guilt of being their only child and now living in a different country but the fact they can’t see their two amazing grandkids growing up daily/weekly/monthly. It’s too much. For both sides. We do Skype almost every day but as my kids are still so little I don’t know if they “get” anything properly yet. The 3-year old remembers my mom very well but I can see that these memories need to be refreshed so bad. Because currently my mom in law is their grandma and my mom is just a lady on a computer screen who sends presents sometimes. It’s heartbreaking. I want them to play together and I want my parents to have a chance to hold them, be silly with them, comfort them when they have a tumble, play hide and seek. But no. None of that. It’s horrible. And if any Estonian reading this is thinking why the fuck did she move away then? – it’s simple, normally, I would be 2.5 hour flight away! Time wise same as travelling to Põlva!
However, summer 2020 wasn’t just about dreaming about seeing my parents. We had our daily life to get on with. And it was SUMMER! We had to make the most of it. More than ever!
Until mid-July nothing was open. There were no Zoo visits, no playgrounds, no nothing. Everything was still closed everywhere. I cannot express enough how grateful and happy I/we were that we had a garden. Imagine a summer lockdown in a flat… So so so grateful…
I used to take my kids out to play on big fields, like my human puppies haha. Let them run wild! Burn their energy! Luckily we have really nice nature reserves, football fields and parks nearby SO yeah – again, grateful!
I have never bough so much stuff from Amazon ever. Anything that would help me be the best entertainer for the summer. Things like a big ass pool
I built a mud kitchen for the kids. Yes. My husband helped a little bit, but mainly I did it. So I won’t let him take any credit lol. I still love him obvs, but this was MY project.
I put together obstacle courses on the grass to entertain my two crazy boys. Something they would do in toddler classes but there were no classes, right!?
Painting. Indoors and outdoors. Googled all sorts of toddler activities from which a lot were still very tricky to do cause of the age difference between these two.
On 24th July they finally made masks mandatory indoors. Wow. Well done, Boris. A bit late but you know, you got there!
The end of August they finally opened the playgrounds again. Everyone had to stay away from each other but still…Honestly…the kids faces when they saw other kids existed… Priceless.
We managed to do a socially distanced zoo visit! We even managed to fit in couple of smaller animal farm visits during August. It was magical! Something that last year would have felt like “oh this little trip to the farm is a good afternoon-filler”, in 2020 it was better than Disneyland!
We also managed to visit probably the shittest beach in England – Weston Super Mare…. Don’t go. We had never been, we didn’t know. Kids LOVED it cause it was their first ever beach. As parents we hated it because the sea/ocean water was not reachable when you have little kids, you would have literally had to walk for miles. There was sand but mainly mud. And nothing, NOTHING to clean that mud up with. I must have walked for miles to find like a beach shower or some smaller tap for feet. Anything. ANY water. Nope. They would have probably had something by the main pier but that was way too far, so our car looked like a mini-beach and kids like they hadn’t been washed for days. Good day though? ABSO-fucking-LUTELY!!
Well all this lasted what, a bit over 2 months and we were about to enter yet another lockdown. The infection rate went through the roof after the schools and colleges re-opened in September.
We were trying fit ONE more nice thing into this year and that was a little trip to Wales with couple of our close friends and their kids (read – an actual couple, two people, not a bunch of friends). We were successful! This trip was so nice and so needed. For all of us. Just to get away from our homes for a few days. We even saw one of the prettiest beaches there.
And then came lockdown Number 2. So awkward. No one knew if Christmas was gonna be “cancelled” or not haha. I mean I never cared, cause my best friend, Amazon, was still there! So some presents sorted for the kids and we’ve got Christmas.
What was different in the second lockdown? Here’s what:
- We still had our support bubble! So so important, and I officially like to thank my mother in law for all her help!
- My husband was working a bit less and I had more help. Even bathing the kids while I could clean up downstairs, even that 20 mins – pure magic for me!
- And a huge change – we got a dishwasher installed!!!!!!!! So that I didn’t have to stay in the kitchen until 11pm! I managed to have some more me-time
- Q started pre-school, it meant that a bit of responsibility was taken away from me, he was entertained elsewhere and could finally spend time with kids his age.
- The kids were a bit older. If you have kids, you’ll get me. If not, then for example, I can give them snacks and leave the room for a minute and they would actually sit STILL and eat and I don’t have to stay with them every second just to make sure the little one wouldn’t choke. Basically they’re more independent!
- There’s food in the shops!!!
My firstborn turned 3 in October, and had a quiet lockdown birthday like his brother in April. A Skype birthday? This is a thing now, poor kids lol.
Christmas wasn’t cancelled. Because I guess the government wanted to do something “nice” for the people. Such a “great” idea…let’s get all big families together over Christmas just to make the beginning of a new year extra difficult for the NHS workers. Merry Christmas. Happy Third Lockdown peeps! The one we are currently in……..Started 1 or 2 days after Christmas! Turned out, SURPRISINGLY, that people went slightly cray cray over Christmas and this infamous most infectious virus in history or whatnot had a field day!
One hugely positive this that happened was that it snowed! First time in three years! And not a little bit but like a proper snow! So the kids could enjoy their first ever snow and would have another reason to stay outside!
So here we are. All this time later, sitting in our homes. Going to a park is a huge deal and having people come too close to us freaks us out.
So that was our summer/fall/winter – mostly in lockdown, but you know, you learn to appreciate smaller things. And we managed to go see couple of places too so not too bad all things considering…
If I was a single woman living in London still, I would have probably “escaped” back to Estonia to live a normal life there. But with family it’s not exactly the case of “yeah, let’s pack our bags and go travel during the pandemic”.
What I personally missed about last summer? Freedom to go and see places. It had already been 2 years since I had been back to Estonia, I needed this, for my mental health and I needed my kids to see our beautiful beaches, bogs and forests. It was so fucking tough to see my friends having pretty much a normal summer over there. Midsummer celebrations, endless beach days, parties (?! what are these?!), even night clubs (?!!), gyms, social events….You could spend time with your families….You guys had it so good you have no idea… So one might understand why I would basically lose my shit, if I saw people there complaining about little things…like having to wear masks (which, wtf, is still not required by the law and not punishable), or having to close your gyms for few weeks here and there. Like Kendrick Lamar would say – Be humble, sit down…
Apparently this lockdown will end in four steps, so not long to go anymore… People are getting vaccinated and hopefully one day soon we can live normal(ish) lives again and stop living in such constant fear all the time.
So here’s to summer 2021! I hope you’ll be something special. We’ve already got our tickets to Estonia so if I need to fill out a ton of paperwork and take covid tests, no problem, anything really! This time all our passports are up to date and we are ready… so ready to go and enjoy Estonian’s beautiful summer! And MOST importantly – see my parents and let them have some so long waited quality time with their grandkids <- insert broken heart emoji!
I think what this year has changed though is that it has made us closer as people. I’ve thoroughly felt that the friendships I had before are now so much stronger regardless how many countries apart….But overall, a lot of support is going on online and it’s really really good to see. We all need this. We’ll get through this!
Much love and patience to all.