I have begun to love this lockdown!
For some peculiar reason and strange as it may sound, I must admit that I have truly begun to enjoy this lockdown. If you are wondering why, it is because I get to spend more time with my little boy.
The hustle-bustle of morning routine is now a history. I wake up leisurely, play with my son, have breakfast with family, catch the news, and cook up a storm. I have time on my hands now.
It works beautifully. When it’s time to log in for work, I take a walk from the hall to my work desk, a few steps away from where my son sits and plays happily with his building blocks. I get to watch him play and do exciting things with the toys, while I, in parallel, focus on work and attend to calls. It's incredible to see how his little mind works. When he eventually gets bored, he asks for a snack and for me to put on his favorite cartoon.
We have rules about screen time and reserve it particularly for when my better half and I are absorbed with calls or critical deliveries. My child has mastered our schedule by now and approaches me accordingly. And so I switch on the TV and he watches and laughs to himself every time a cartoon character does something funny. He has a great sense of humor. Every time he laughs, everyone in the house smiles. If humor is quintessential to get by in life, I am glad my baby is armed.
Yes, at times, there is the occasional pounding by those tiny fists on the door of my room, when I am trying to attend to a conference call, and I get disturbed. It's normal. My train of thought takes a hit, and I need to excuse myself for a few seconds.
When I open the door to tell him I need more time, he ignores that and checks if I can come out and play with him. No, he is not difficult; he just doesn't understand the concept of work from home yet. For a five-year-old, everything is a play. An innocence I vicariously live through every single day.
Occasionally, while busy figuring a solution to concerns raised at work, there is also this little hug I get from behind me and a peck on the cheek with a chirpy 'Mommy, I love you' in the ear. It melts my heart and moistens my eyes every single time I hear him say that. I think to myself if only grown-ups expressed themselves as often as children did, perhaps half the problems in the world would disappear.
Close to evening, he begins to get restless. It's his time to go to the park and play. We don't do that anymore due to social distancing norms and to avoid contact with surfaces in the play area. So I take a break from work and we walk around the apartment. He is joyful and follows a butterfly or a bird at times. He has a million questions every time we are out and jumps on to the next question even before I have answered the previous one.
Someone once told me, ‘enjoy it while it lasts. Kids won't stay young for long. You will miss these times.’
I have already begun to miss a few things, like, for instance, carrying him around. He doesn’t ask me to carry him unlike a year ago. And so I look at him lovingly as we get back home.
After making a quick snack for him, I get back to work after my break. It's late in the day now, time for me to log off. The house is a mess because my little tyke has been playing with all his toys, and they are now strewn all over the place.
I sigh and begin to pick them up. At times he helps me out, and we enjoy this time spent together too. Oblivious to the untrained eye, he is learning from me, and I am learning from him.
I've saved precious amounts of time that I would have generally spent negotiating with traffic while returning from work. I make the most of it. 2020 is a grim reminder of how months have flown by never to be relived again.
My son and I do different things every evening. At times there are experiments, then during other times, we play with his toy cars.
There's a lot of pretend play. He likes being an astronaut, or sometimes a fireman. He loves planets. I've seen that he always wants to be helpful and heroic. I am glad I can see him do all this, which I used to miss while working.
On one fine day after perhaps a few weeks of lockdown, my son sat me down and said, ‘Mummy.’ I turned to him, and he looked into my eyes and held my face with his little fingers so that he could get my complete attention and when he knew I was all ears, he said, 'I think you should always work from home, Mommy, I like it when you are around. I feel happy.'
That is what makes me enjoy the lockdown. The grey cloud looming over the globe does have a silver lining in my home, in the heart of my little boy and his Mommy too. I found my silver lining a few days ago, and if you haven't yet found yours, find it, for it will be worth it.
(The author works with an ITES organization at Bangalore.)