Day 426

Daycare in our area is open to all children again, starting Monday. Perhaps this journal starts to look like, but it’s very important to our family. Obviously for the children. This week the oldest was allowed in for three days and it instantly reduced the bickering with his sister when he was at home. In the afternoons he was excited to do things, in the evenings he was tired of the long day of seeing other people and learning things. The youngest, too, was happy to have some time alone with us (she mentioned something about her brother stinking when I asked her about how she experienced it).

But daycare is also important to my spouse and me. Every week we’ve been planning hourly schedules to make sure one could attend the most important meetings, while the other would make sure the children get the attention they need. To be fair, them being 3 and 5 years old, a lot of the time they play independently, go outside and meet with the children in the neighborhood—a big difference with last year’s lockdowns. But we can’t rely on it. Usually they come to us three or five times per hour with some request. Telling us they want to go to the toilet. That they want to eat, drink, get a band aid, found a fat worm, learned a trick on the skateboard. So while we get some alone time while they play, we can’t use it to do deep work or schedule meetings. Even writing an email is frustrating when you get interrupted three times doing it and then forget to include something important.

The other reason why I mention that daycare is opening again is that this time I consider it possible that it was the last time it we had to do without for this long. The daycare staff is getting vaccinated soon. With the rest of the population also getting vaccinated (I heard about some of my coworkers getting lucky with getting their shots through the backup waiting lists), it’s possible we’ve had the last big wave of covid cases. I’m not saying this was the last lockdown for sure, but I’m carefully optimistic about it.

I’m even getting slightly melancholic about the idea that maybe this was the last real lockdown. The lockdowns have been stressful, but especially the last couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed the upside too. I spent a lot of time with the children and that has improved my relationship with them. I’ve gotten a little better at understanding their temper tantrums. We’ve had fun together. I think they like me more than before. And I can almost do an ollie on a skateboard.

Was this personal growth? Have I learned to accept the situation, make the best of it and enjoyed life? Have I stopped resisting the fact that I couldn’t do hobby projects, courses and that most of my long-term thinking was on hold? Or am I just relieved because we get daycare again?

Sometimes it feels like we’re in the end phase of the pandemic, but although things here in Germany are slowly starting to look good, cases world-wide are growing increasingly fast. Humanity may have invented covid vaccines, but we haven’t found a way yet to lift the patents and make sure they’re affordable for all people.

Maybe that’s my most important learning so far—something that I knew already as a scientifically demonstrated mechanism, but always found hard to experience—often I don’t know why I feel the way I do. And just like all people, my brain makes up a story to explain the emotions. If I’d be sad right now, I could attribute that to the sorry state of the world: subsidized vaccine development is now exploited for money by big pharma, while thousands are dying in India alone. But I’m not sad, so I found other reasons for why I feel like I do. Maybe I just feel fine because yesterday we had a holiday and that relaxed me.

Anyway—I’m looking forward to next week and having one additional full, uninterrupted day of work and even getting some free time again next week.

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