It’s New Years Eve and I am waiting for the bath to finish running. I don’t intend to do much this evening except write this post, soak in a pile of bubbles and read with her into the wee hours. I don’t plan on writing very much either; what is there to say about this bin bag of a year?
When I think of 2020, my mind draws a blank. I feel as flat as a Norfolk field. I’m ironed-out, unmotivated, disenchanted. I don’t quite know why when I’m still fortunate enough to have an income and life on the whole has continued as normal-ish as it can. Perhaps there has been too much solitude, living my days behind a screen. That life has been reduced to the parameters of my home and the empty aisles of the supermarket at 7.00am. And God dammit I miss my friends. Miss hugging, miss a simple, friendly kiss on the cheek.
But I am not ungrateful and I don’t want to moan.
Spring came early and it shone. Me and her spent hours reading together on the lawn. I would work in the garden cabin, she would home school at the kitchen table. If it is at all possible we became much closer this year, my daughter a delightful companion, and she has begun writing her own stories too; but it also felt like the beginnings of a last hurrah as she edges towards thirteen. There have already been plenty of of rallying cries to independence; ‘Mummy, I want to walk with my friends to school,’ ‘Mummy, keep your voice down, you’re embarrassing me,’ ‘Mummy, you’ve repeated yourself ten times now,’ and my favourite, ‘Mummy, give me the remote control, you don’t know how to use it.’
Over the summer there were lots of home improvements. A new electric box (the old one was very dated, delicately held together with sellotape). The front of the house including all the wood trimmings and porch and front door were painted (it looks a lot less flaky and sun worn). The old gravity central heating system was ripped out and a new boiler and radiators installed (the old piping no longer belches). And a brand new bath room was fitted, though the tiler, an untrustworthy, lying sod, could have done a much better job – I don’t take kindly to corners being cut, and those that were had to be replaced (still, it’s a marked improvement on the rotting-falling-apart thing we inherited). Oh, and new carpets upstairs…..
Then the autumn came and she returned to school…
And I turned fifty. Quietly.
Birthdays don’t rock in lockdown.
But all the cards and flowers and well wishes; I felt ever so loved.
This Christmas was rather lovely. She was with her dad, and for the first time, and partly because of the bubble situation with the virus-that-must-not-be-named, I was invited to have dinner with my ex husband and his girlfriend and their nearly two year old daughter (my daughter’s half sister). And for her it was magical, the best present ever, to be with both her parents again at Christmas, the first time in five years. Our higgledy-piggledy family is getting there. And of course all those warm festive things I love; the candles and lit fireplace, the board games and bowl fulls of custard, the chilly night time walks admiring the efforts the community had gone to this year to bring a little extra cheer.
Anyway, the fire works have begun to pop and spread like sparkling cobwebs across the sky. I haven’t set any intentions for next year, haven’t the foggiest what to manifest or focus upon. I think good health will do. That and reconnecting properly with friends and family. That’s it. That is all. I just don’t want to set any lofty expectations for myself. The beginning of the last few years I’ve repeatedly promised to finally finish my novel with such naive hope. It never happens. So I’m banking on reverse psychology here – that if I don’t make any promises I might surprise myself…
Oh 2020… you have been such a useless dishcloth.
My word for 2021? TRUST.