Friday, May 22, 2020

Let's go camping, shall we?

Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash
Sun is shining. It is warm. We have started to socialize again with small careful steps. I'm taking Nelly Bo to the beach to see her friends for the first time in 8 weeks. Her "Happy Playlist" is playing and she's excited. I'm excited for her.
"You know, Papa and I have been talking a little bit about summer..." I say.
" Yeah..."
"We thought that as our plans have been totally changed, I mean, we will probably be in Switzerland all summer right, we had this idea that we could go camping and explore Switzerland? All together, stop at small lakes, grill hot dogs, hang out and play cards... Isn't that a great idea?"

We're at a traffic light, I turn my head to look at her, she looks at me with a very serious face and simply says:
"No! I've been in isolation with you guys for 8 weeks and the last thing I want is to spend a summer vacation in a camper with you guys. I'm sorry, I love you, don't get me wrong, but no!"

It hits home in an instant and I burst into laughter. The green light goes on.
"Ha ha ha! You are sooo right... I haven't thought of it that way. Silly me... What were we thinking?"

We look at each other and laugh out loud together. Soon we arrive to the beach. She leaves and starts walking down to the water front with the beach bag over her shoulder and her messy pony tail wiggling from side to side...

At her age I was already living alone and working, I drove around in my own car, paid bills and had my own phone line... The last thing on my mind at that age was to go camping with my family. I remember that now. I guess I forgot because I had this romantic view of a camping trip all together, you know, but I realize that is just a fantasy. At least for now. Nelly Bo would LOVE to camping with friends - oh yes! But not with us. No, no, no... too much fun going on in her life right now.

On my way back from the beach I twist and turn my camping trip idea a bit in my mind... Maybe me and Jay should go camping on our own. Rent a small camper and leave the kids home alone for a few days. Hmmm... that actually sounds like a great idea! I better start researching campers for rent...


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Friday, May 15, 2020


This girl of mine. My little one. The last one of the three greatest gifts to my life. She came to us with demands, determination, stubbornness and confidence. With cuteness, laughter, a love for play, creativity, goofing around and with an endless source of imagination. She dares to go against the stream, dares to be different, follows her own path and her own ideas. She's a Peter Pan in a female body: full of adventures and with no desire to ever grow up. If she could, I think she would stay a child forever.

Thirteen. A time of exploration, searching and finding your place in this weird world we live in. To fit in. Or not fit in. One leg in childhood, one leg in young adulthood. Not always rainbows, unicorns, gumdrops and magic fairy dust like it used to be. More of a roller coaster of emotions that can be exhausting, confusing, exciting and scary. All at the same time. For her. And for me.

Yes, I worry, and I feel pain just like she does, and I selfishly want her to stay little forever... she is the last one and I'm really not ready for her to grow into a young adult... not just yet. I don't think  anyone is ready for their kids to grow up and become adults. But I know I have to accept that it is happening, right before my eyes. So I give her space, room to cut loose and try her wings, find her tribe, her way... It is so so hard... So so beautiful. So so painful... so so rewarding...

 At night when I kiss her goodnight she says:
"I love you!"
And I say:
" I love you too."
Then she says:
" I love you more..."
And I know she has won this game we play every night when I say:
" Well, I love you to the moon and back..."
She laughs out loud with that special twinkle in her eye and says:
"But I love you to infinity and beyond!" 
And so we laugh together and feel the love in between us. To infinity and beyond. And I know she'll find her way, that I can do this. And she will do just fine and she will always be my littlest girl, no one can ever change that. Not even years passing by. Happy Birthday my Emmy Bo.

PS Cake is a homemade Swedish princess cake. Make a sponge for three layers. Put vanilla custard and raspberry jam on each layer including raspberry jam on top, cover with thick layer of hard whipped cream. Cover with thin layer of rolled out marzipan. Cut off waste around and tuck edges in. Eat chilled. :)


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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Lock up

Monday 11th of May 2020, Stage 2 of Covid19 lock up starts today. Lets send our children back to schools, go back to our work places, open up the doors of commerce, services, restaurants and public places. We do recommend people to wear masks, wash hands properly numerous times a day, use hand sanitizers, avoid touching our faces, keep social distancing, sneeze into elbows and be careful "out there". If you develop ANY sign of Covid19 (I'm not going to list all 10, 20, 30 different symptoms related to this virus here...) you SHOULD stay at home and isolate yourself and your family for a minimum of 14 days with the last 48 hours being totally and completely symptom free. Ok, I got it... Welcome back to "normal".

Is this reasonable? Is this how life is supposed to be from now on? Can I give someone a hug? Or maybe I only can hug my children and my husband for the rest of my life? I'm confused. I'm not sure I resonate with it all or not. I don't know what to think, feel or do to be honest. Is it over? Am I comfortable with this? Are we ready? I'm not sure...

A part of me is relieved that we are opening up society again, that my kids can go back to school and see their friends, that I can go back to work. That we can go back to "normal". "Normal"? This is NOT normal. This is sooooo far from normal it could be. I don't even remember "normal" anymore.

Classes are split in two groups, Group A and Group B. My kids go to school every two days, rotating their schedule with Group B. They take public transport. They "elbow" their friends at school, spread out in the class rooms, but at least they have some type of routine and get to leave the house and have their "own" life for a few days a week. Emmy Bo and Luca Bo are very happy for that: the routine and getting out of the house.

Nelly Bo is not back at gymnasium yet. Gymnasium students are considered adults as most of them are 17 - 20 years old which makes them more prone to catch the virus... they say.She has to wait and see what happens. Maybe she\ll go back the 8th of June...

I'm back at work as an After School Care Teacher at a private school. We have had between two to six children staying every afternoon this week. Before Covid19 we had between 30-40 children. The new health and safety routines are very strict, not allowing parents into the building at all,  less children, social distancing marked on floors, tables spread out, free masks and gloves given at entrance for those who chose to use those, a team of cleaners on constant mission of disinfecting furniture, door handles, toilets etc... It's alright, but totally weird.

I have so many questions, I worry and look around me for guidance on how to behave in all this. But it doesn't help. Some people are totally relaxed and says "Let's just live." others covers up with face masks and gloves, standing meters away and telling me to be responsible and do the same.  I find myself standing somewhere in the middle of all this, one foot in lock down behavior and one foot in "I want to be free". I've made some decisions throughout the week, as days passed by and I adjusted to all this. Decisions I'm comfortable with, such as:

1. When going shopping I wear mask and gloves or I wash hands before and after my visit and use hand sanitizer. I keep distance and move slowly and responsibly through the store. And I don't go shopping if I don't really have to. No mindless "window shopping" or "Ohhh, lets pop into this store and see what they have." No, now I bring a shopping list, walk in, get what I need and go out.

2. When working at the school I don't wear a mask or gloves. I keep social distance with my two dear colleagues but with the kids I find it hard. I sit next to them, but not too close, and we play games, talk and draw. I wash my hands multiple times throughout our afternoon sessions.

I guess everyone has to find their own way of comfortable in this "new normal",  and just like it took a good week or two to adjust to the lock down, we now need to adjust to this lock up. The fear has to go. It's just not worth walking around in fear. But saying that, we still need to be cautious and pay attention to hygiene and social behavior, keep distance when we can and not run out thinking "Alright! Everything is open - lets go party!".  It's not over. This is just the first flat stretch in a marathon where we get the chance to catch our breath. New hills are to be climbed ahead of us. We just don't know when they will appear or how steep they will be. This race has just begun. That is what I think.


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