The lockdown diaries – Day 13: All the rainbows

On a recent walk around the extended neighbourhood of our side of town, my little girl took great pleasure in pointing out the flowers, blossoms on trees and bushes, gleefully shouting: “I didn’t see that yesterday!” I carefully pointed out that we had indeed walked past those flowers and trees the day before and if she didn’t remember. She looked at me thoughtfully and then exclaimed: “Yes, but not all of them. There are loads of new ones every day!” As we continued our walk I didn’t just feel the sun warming my face and body, but I also felt a growing heat from the inside, a mixture of pride that my daughter just taught me something so simple yet valuable, and a little bit of sadness that I, as an educated and well-read woman had failed to see things in the best light they were meant to be seen. She perceives things totally differently. For my little girl the daily walk, the same path we go is never dull or mundane. She spots the fresh, young leaves on trees, she notices ladybirds, butterflies and bugs, she points to the birds in the sky and every single cloud there is. Her eyes and mind are wide open, her curiosity never satisfied and her questions endless. I wondered why we lose this glorious “superpower”, that insatiable thirst for magic and mystery when we grow up. I didn’t get much time to dwell on this, as she had a question for me: “Mama, why are there all the rainbows?” I took time to answer, knowing this question was important to her and deserved a reply that would fill her mind with happiness and security. I had overused the word ‘virus’ with her, bluntly explaining to her why she couldn’t see her grandparents, her friends, her family across the Channel. She seems to get it, to accept it, and move on. But I don’t want this time to become as clinical for her as it feels for a lot of us. And so I said: “Rainbows remind us that everything will be fine again. Think of times when it rains, and it’s grey and wet and we don’t go outside much. Well, a rainbow only appears when the sun shines during or after rain. One can’t be there without the other. So the rainbows remind us that after this difficult time there will be light, hugs and gatherings of humans again, and it also tells us that we can still have good times during these strange days.” We carried on our walk pointing out all the rainbows in the windows, big, small, messy, neat, with clouds and raindrops or rays of sunshine. Life in lockdown can be challenging and exhausting. It’s easy to mope and focus on the negatives and become overwhelmed by the everyday grind that has become more confining than usual. However, the biggest, most colourful resource during this pandemic is the child that wonders, explores and asks. In times like this, our kids can teach us more than we do whilst homeschooling them. 

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